Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Cosmetics And Food Safety Regulations, 2014

"Cops bust largest fake beauty supplies ring in US", 2014
"FBI - Counterfeit Cosmetics, Fragrances Hazardous to Your Health", 2014

"Laws & Regulations FDA Authority Over Cosmetics", 2014

"Providing better information and protection for consumers" UK, 2014
"Enforcing the EC Regulation on Cosmetic Products", in effect 2013

Do government cosmetics safety regulations exist? YES
Are they being improved? YES
Can you do anything to improve enforcement? YES 
You can report adverse cosmetics reactions AND advertising and marketing violations, to help stop the violators.

Be informed! Be aware! Take action! Don't be scammed! 

"Compliance Resources Inspection of Cosmetics", FDA, 2014

Those who say consumers have NO safety protection under laws are selling and or promoting products with A LOT of misinformation regarding cosmetics, food, and any other product.

"FDA Basics Who makes sure the food I buy at the grocery store is safe to eat?", 2014

"Organic Products" Health Canada, 2014 

"Pesticide residue found on nearly half of organic produce", 2014 

I buy organic and regular produce. I wash (rinse) all.

Do some farmers violate government pesticide use regulations? YES - both organic AND regular food producers, And all need to be stopped. That does not mean most food purchased is unsafe. It does mean governments are monitoring, testing and enforcing regulations.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Coconut Oil Is Not A Health Cure

From my Twitter Account and expanded on here

Email Reply: Is coconut oil a health cure?

No, it is not. It can be a great oil to use for some cosmetic applications, and in food. However, it has limitations. Countries where it has been part of a staple diet, do NOT as claimed by those promoting it have low, or no rates of cardiovascular disease, e.g. Sri Lanka, 2011, and the Philippines, 2013.

Beware of websites 
that are actually owned by companies selling "heath foods" promoting Big Pharma coconut oil and other conspiracies, and advertising by coconut oil suppliers.

"Anti-quackery: Doctors uneasy after colleague evades kidnapping attempt ", 2014

"Fish oil: what do we call an alternative medicine that works?", 2013

Coconut oil health claims, 2013

"UNICEF Philippines - HIV/ AIDS - Issue", 2013

"Sri Lanka - HIV infections again on the rise", 2013

It is very clear that HIV needs to be destigmatized, to allow education, and treatment to reach those in countries where HIV is on the rise. It is also very clear "home brews" of lemon juice, herbs, coconut oil, or vinegar are NOT HIV treatments, in spite of their prevalence on the Internet.

What is most alarming to me? The rise in HIV among those so young, Treatment is often rejected because of ignorance, and or stigmatization and laws. The laws? In some countries same sex is against the law. That also means those in need of education and treatment can be living in fear of reprisal.

WHO: Facts about HIV/AIDS, 2013
"As a result of recent advances in access to antiretroviral therapy (ART), HIV-positive people now live longer and healthier lives. In addition, it has been confirmed that ART prevents onward transmission of HIV. ... 10 facts on HIV/AIDS"

"10 Tired Myths About HIV/AIDS - Wellness & Empowerment - EBONY", 2014, and excellent!

There is no shortage of false HIV/AIDS cures. 
"GAMBIA: President’s herbal HIV/AIDS 'cure' boosts ARV use", 2014

"The false science behind Egyptian army's AIDS and HCV cure", 2014

Preliminary animal studies, 2009, and below, do NOT make coconut oil an HIV/AIDS preventative treatment. Bolding of text by me
"This new approach, plausibly linked to interfering with innate host responses that recruit the target cells necessary to establish systemic infection, opens a promising new avenue for the development of effective interventions to block HIV-1 mucosal transmission."

"Drug-Eluting Fibers for HIV-1 Inhibition and Contraception", 2012, Bolding of text by me
"Since HSV-2 infection may occur through the vulva, the vagina, or the cervix, the mouse model developed by Moench et al. may be too sensitive to draw conclusions about how GML may affect HSV-2 acquisition in humans or nonhuman primates. Despite the surfactant nature of GML, the compound has been shown to have several protective qualities, including the ability to neutralize the toxic effects of pathogenic gram-positive bacteria [25],[51]. Recently, Li et al. provided preliminary evidence that GML is not only safe for chronic use in rhesus macaques, but actually prevents SIV mucosal transmission with repeated high dose challenge [26]. ...The functional combination offered by our drug-eluting fibers cannot be accomplished with any single technology currently in the development pipeline. ... All animals were obtained ..." 

"the mouse model developed by Moench et al." research referred to above, 2010, Bolding of text by me
"The following excipients markedly increased susceptibility to HSV-2 after a single exposure: 5% glycerol monolaurate (GML) formulated in K-Y® Warming Jelly, 5% GML as a colloidal suspension in phosphate buffered saline ... Our model has several limitations. Observations were made in mice rather than humans or non-human primates. ... Our results specifically caution against the use of ... and GML as an excipient or API."

To me, promoting false HIV/AIDS treatments or cures, whether through political "strategy", or marketing and advertising is right up there with using chemical weapons. Both can cost lives.

Email reply: Coconut oil
If coconut oil worked as advertised (emphasis), HIV rates in countries where it is consumed the most would not be rising.

Email Reply: Coconut oil as a diaper rash cream?
I highly doubt it. Heat and moisture would offset it being helpful.
"Using Coconut Oil for Healing Diaper Rash Review - Does it Work?", 2013

I have also read numerous reports of virgin coconut oil going off used in the sun, and in other conditions of high environmental heat and humidity.

Email Reply: Natural oils as a sunscreen? Not on their own. They are often added to sunscreens with a REGULATED SPF. Skin cancer is NOT something you want to risk!

I wrote about natural oils and sunscreens here. More can be found here. It is completely irresponsible, and can result in a skin cancer risk, for anyone to promote any natural oil as the only protection needed from UV.

WHO, "Sun protection", 2014

There are ethical issues doctors, drug, food, cosmetic companies, and all of us face. Does that mean it is "open season" on patients and or consumers? NO! The best way to beat FRAUD of ANY kind, and help others is to EXPOSE it. That can be done various ways.

"Sensa and Three Other Marketers of Fad Weight-Loss Products Settle FTC Charges in Crackdown on Deceptive Advertising", 2014
"Refund administration for consumer redress takes time, and the FTC is in the process of determining how best to provide redress in each case. When information becomes available regarding consumer refunds in these cases, it can be found here." Also note contact information at the end of the page for refunds. Go FTC!

See Also
"superfoods" in this link, bolding of text by me
"Under EU legislation, use of the term superfoods is not allowed unless it is accompanied by an authorised health claim that explains to consumers why the product is good for their health." 
It is "old" news (since 2007) but good news just the same.

"Kale? Juicing? Trouble Ahead", 2014, Excellent article

Email reply: Juicing and kale I would not overdo either! That does not necessarily mean you need to regularly avoid kale, or juicing fruit. It does mean moderation is best. A healthy diet is not about fads and fantasies. If you should avoid certain foods, based on doctor's advice after tests, consult with your doctor first, and ask the questions you need to, to understand what you must do.

"Juicing: What are the health benefits?", Mayo Clinic, 2014, Great tips on juicing safety and more

Raw food? It depends on whether food safety regulations, 2013, have been followed.

"COMMUNITY WATER FLUORIDATION", 2013, It helps not harms.

"TOOTHPASTE", 2013, Good advice!

Email Reply: Cancer Prevention (Reducing the Risk), 2014
I agree completely! It is reputable, current, balanced and a keeper! That is exactly why I Tweeted it.

Monday, March 3, 2014

How "Moisturizers" Are Supposed To Work

I had another email on this topic. There are common misconceptions about "moisturizers". Humectants draw water from the air. However, if air is dry and too much of a humectant is used, or too much of one is in a cosmetic product, it can draw water from hair or skin and be counterproductive for the purpose used.

Can cosmetic mineral oil baby oil replace hair conditioner? Yes, best used on hair with little to no residue, or less conditioner than normally used first. Many people put more conditioner on hair lacking moisture and the result is more build-up (residue) and drier hair. It does not help.

Technically, no oil, or any other cosmetic ingredient moisturizes hair or skin. Water does so. Cosmetic mineral oil can help keep added water in both, or it can help maintain a moisture level. It can do so longer than most other ingredients, including vegetable oils and silicone.

That is what any "moisturizer" is supposed to do, and why cosmetic mineral oil is used in so many cosmetics for extra dry skin, for example. And also why mineral oil baby oil is often used in small amounts on damp to wet skin post bathing.

See also
This blog post and this link  The top three "moisturizing" cosmetic ingredients in order are: petrolatum (Vaseline), lanolin and mineral oil. The others following do not come close to the same performance. The difference for longer hair is that mineral oil is neither heavy nor sticky, or greasy used alone in small amounts, like the first two. It does not contain and is not a wax, Petrolatum contains wax and mineral oil, and lanolin is a wax. Both can be difficult to remove from hair, while mineral oil can be washed out easily. Mineral oil has superb detangling properties, and it is also antistatic. It should not need reapplication between hair washes, if enough is used post washing.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Copycat Marketing

This has been another email topic of late.

This is how it works. A cosmetic product like USB/BP mineral oil, often used as baby oil, with or without fragrance for example, gets fantastic reviews online. Then, a totally unrelated cosmetic product that previously had mixed reviews at best has the same, or almost the exact same positive reviews.

That is the basis of copycat marketing, which is not restricted to cosmetic products. As more companies pay for product reviews with money, goods or discounts, copycat positive, and negative reviews to dis the competition, will continue.

As I just said on Twitter, in a shorter version in agreement to an email about this, copycat positive reviews cannot suddenly make any product work better than it has been reported to perform in the past.

See Also
This blog post

Monday, February 24, 2014

Misbranded Cosmetics

I still get emails on this topic. I replied on Twitter but I will state the facts here too.

Misbranded cosmetics See paragraph "b" and "hair grower" 2013, FDA, revised

It means any cosmetic marketing for products natural or otherwise, promoting hair growth with no approved new drug application is in violation of FDA regulations. That does not stop small companies marketing their products online and elsewhere in violation of the regulations, until they get caught. More should be caught.

The FDA regulations apply to large and small companies and are in place to ensure companies can prove what is claimed, not just make money. Other countries have similar if not the same regulations. Any cosmetic company that is boldly violating government marketing regulations, I have no doubt is violating other regulations as well.

See Also
This blog post and this FDA link.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Odd or Bad Odors Developing from Cosmetics

I keep getting email inquiries regarding this topic, I have replied to on Twitter as well because of their frequency.

Here are my Tweets today on the matter, expanded for this post.

Email reply: Odd odor cosmetics There is no reason a cosmetic should begin to smell odd except if it is going or has gone off, regardless of the expiry claims.

Cosmetic preservatives are supposed to accommodate consumer use, temperature fluctuations, and more. Cosmetics that contain water or infusions can go bad.

An odd or bad odor of any cosmetic can be the last sign something is wrong. Tossing it out is best, or a refund, or get a free replacement.

"When Should I Throw Out a Product?"
"And remember: If it smells funky, looks gunky or the texture has changed significantly—definitely toss it out!"

Within a reasonable time reputable cosmetic companies do not excuse, or refuse refunds, or free replacements over such matters.

I have had food well kept go off before a best before expiry date too. I have never had a problem getting a refund, or free replacement. The product was unstable.

2011 "Effective vs. Ineffective Preservation Using Water Activity*"
"This illustrates the need need to concentrate on controlling and preventing microbial contamination during manufacturing."

The point is that you should be able to count on a cosmetic not to go off well before keeping it too long becomes a hazard.

"Challenges Persist in Working with Green Materials in Beauty Product Development"
"Stability also is a major issue, with some green preservative systems leading to discoloration and/or odor changes."

"The preservative wars"
“No single preservative is equally effective against all types of microorganisms” ... Although synthetic preservatives bear the brunt of criticism from anti-preservative groups, natural preservatives are not free from controversy." 

The topic of "all natural" cosmetics and the preservation of cosmetics is not a simple one. What side of the preservative wars am I on? Cosmetics must be safe to use. I am on the side of reputable evidence-based information with history.

Email Reply: Why did I say with history? From
See the paragraph starting with "While consumers tend to view" and the one after it under "Going natural has its own challenges" To be clear, I side with the first of the two paragraphs.

Peer-reviewed evidence-based science is used to re-evaluate cosmetic ingredients and levels used in cosmetics as needed, with continuing research.

Note: the 2nd paragraph "some studies have reported adverse effects of natural preservatives, including allergic reactions, early puberty, and cancer".

Ongoing reputable scientific research "in context" is very important!

The 2nd paragraph comments make no sense to me without reputable, peer-reviewed, scientific evidence to support them. And by those same comments,
"The data haven’t been presented to scientific committees and papers haven’t been published"

Saturday, December 21, 2013

An Important Alert - Fake (illicit) Alcohol Consumption - Dangerous, Can be Deadly

It is potentially everywhere in the world these days, whether "imported" or smuggled, or homemade and it can kill! Fake alcohol needs publicity to warn potential customers of the risks. I Tweeted more about it, after reading and Retweeting the first article below.

"Fake vodka 'can kill you' warning"

Sometimes it takes a face and name to get the message across regarding how devastating, and serious this can be, anywhere!
"Cheznye Emmons: British backpacker, 23, dies after drinking poisoned alcohol in Indonesia"

"Seizures of fake alcohol increase fivefold in two years"

"New Jersey restaurants caught selling fake alcohol"

"Dangers of Illicit Alcohol, Canada"

"A Killer Hangover: China’s Problem with Fake Alcohol"

"methanol poisoning, 2013"

"Bootleggers sentenced to 90 years in prison in Turkey"

"Methanol poisoning claims 19 lives in central Europe"

Beer is counterfeited too but safety procedures for producing it are not observed.
"Heineken ‘absolutely on top’ of fake beer threat after Vietnam gang bust"