Any health-conscious consumer should educate her or himself on the differences between natural vs organic and then exercise common sense. As it is right now, the green movement popularized a lot of valuable information as well as some paranoia. Many consumers scared by truthful – as well as misleading – information pursue “organic” products and nothing but.
So far there is no legal definition of natural. There is a “legal” definition of organic. Consequently, one would assume that products (I’m speaking here of products OTHER than foods!) labeled as “organic” actually are. At the same token, products labeled as “natural” are less healthful or safe. That’s not the case.
Speaking of hygiene products or cosmetics for instance, most of them CANNOT be “organic” REGARDLESS of what the label says. (My personal favorites are products marked as 50% “organic”!) A hygiene or cosmetic product consisting of more than one ingredient is likely to contain at least one ingredient that is UNAVAILABLE “organic”. Would you like an example? There is NO “organic” water! (Actually, there is a long list of ingredients that don’t have “organic” equivalents.)
It is possible to apply for and receive “organic” certification from USDA. “Organic” sounds better, sells better and yes, it is pricier. In the majority of cases however the “organic” is not as “organic” and not as healthy or safe as we’d like to believe. Would you like another example? “Organic” and natural cosmetics containing “organic” and / or “natural” colors. (This one topic alone would make for a captivating book!) Few of them work and few of them last without more or less toxic additives. But the stories written by their manufacturers are pure poetry, one GREAT example of a “natural” colorant is mica. (Research mica and you’re guaranteed to be disappointed: the dazzling colors of “natural mica” are anything but natural.)
There is a great deal of confusion and misinformation out there. I just read a cool piece about a DIY organic anti-aging cream. The author explains – and SHOWS!!! – how to sterilize plastic containers by boiling them?! (Don’t try it at home, EVER: plastic containers are toxic, heating them releases even more toxins; boiling them can eventually melt them and you’ll inhale a great deal of poison!) Among all the very healthy – leave alone “organic” ingredients is vitamin E oil…. There is nothing wrong with vitamin E oil, I’m referring to the quality available in vitamin E capsules. But adding a few drops of the commercially available (and shown on the pictures) so called “vitamin oil for facial use”, a weak solution which contains 1 to 5% of the real thing is pointless….
The truth is that the “green industry” isn’t regulated the way consumers believe it to be. There is a huge amount of unintentional – and intentional! – misinformation. The best way to navigate the murky waters of the natural, “organic” and otherwise “healthy” products is common sense. Organic products (other than organic foods) are not as “organic” as one would think. Natural products are not necessarily inferior to their “organic” counterparts. The main difference between “natural” and “organic” could well be the integrity of the manufacturer….
Personally, I recommend finding an individual – or company – obsessed with health and safety and following him / her or it and buying their products. Another way is to ask questions prior to making a purchase.