Organic Soap

13
Jun

We make natural soap

Yes we make natural soap, so why have we not just gone onto make organic soap?
I guess it boils down to “rules and regulations” and “cost” really. We sell our soap in Turkey, Europe, the U.S., Canada and just about everywhere else on this planet. The laws vary, and certification costs a lot of money, especially if we want to be able to label our soaps organic everywhere.
We set out to make “natural handmade soap” without Palm Oil, chemicals or artificial colourings or aromas. We have succeeded in our quest. We use as many local ingredients as possible so we can verify first hand how it is produced. The Olive oil is organically produced, as is the honey, goat’s milk, rosemary, sage, lavender. No pesticides whatsoever are used because I have seen the product production first hand. However, I cannot call it organic, because the locals do not care about certificates that will increase the cost of their product. It does not make it any less organic!
All the other ingredients are natural, not synthetic, and may or may not be organically produced. Lye (Sodium Hydroxide) is not present in the finished soap, and is essential in the soap making process.

What is Organic soap?

Well, products in the EU can be labelled as “organic” if 95% to 99% of the ingredients are organic (excluding water and salt). These rules change throughout the world and from what I have seen, some countries have a lack of control of certification.
The “what is organic” and the “what is natural” qualifications are very similar. Mass produced soap companies use the word natural to describe their soap just because it has a drop of Olive oil or cocoa butter in it. I guess that at least with organic, producers need to be certified to use the word “Organic”, but this does not stop companies from using the word as a marketing ploy. It is all down to the labelling and the fight to get sales as every customer has their own requirements and perceptions.

Are organic ingredients pesticide free?

Contrary to what most people believe, “organic” does not automatically mean “pesticide-free” or “chemical-free”. In fact, under the laws in the U.S. of most states, organic farmers are allowed to use a wide variety of chemical sprays and powders on their crops.

So what does organic mean? It means that these pesticides, if used, must be derived from natural sources, not synthetically manufactured. Also, these pesticides must be applied using equipment that has not been used to apply any synthetic materials for the past three years, and the land being planted cannot have been treated with synthetic materials for that period either.

Most organic farmers (and even some conventional farmers, too) employ mechanical and cultural tools to help control pests. These include insect traps, careful crop selection (there are a growing number of disease-resistant varieties), and biological controls (such as predator insects and beneficial microorganisms).

Organic Produce and Personal Health

When you test synthetic chemicals for their ability to cause cancer, you find that about half of them are carcinogenic.

Until recently, nobody bothered to look at natural chemicals (such as organic pesticides), because it was assumed that they posed little risk. But when the studies were done, the results were somewhat shocking: you find that about half of the natural chemicals studied are carcinogenic as well.

This is a case where everyone (consumers, farmers, researchers) made the same, dangerous mistake. We assumed that “natural” chemicals were automatically better and safer than synthetic materials, and we were wrong. It’s important that we be more prudent in our acceptance of “natural” as being innocuous and harmless.

Organic pesticides vs Synthetic

Clearly, the less we impact our environment, the better off we all are. Organic farming practices have greatly advanced the use of non-chemical means to control pests, as mentioned earlier.

Unfortunately, these non-chemical methods do not always provide enough protection, and it’s necessary to use chemical pesticides. How do organic pesticides compare with conventional pesticides?

A recent study compared the effectiveness of a rotenone-pyrethrin mixture versus a synthetic pesticide, imidan. Rotenone and pyrethrin are two common organic pesticides; imidan is considered a “soft” synthetic pesticide (i.e., designed to have a brief lifetime after application, and other traits that minimize unwanted effects). It was found that up to 7 applications of the rotenone- pyrethrin mixture were required to obtain the level of protection provided by 2 applications of imidan.

It seems unlikely that 7 applications of rotenone and pyrethrin are really better for the environment than 2 applications of imidan, especially when rotenone is extremely toxic to fish and other aquatic life.

It should be noted, however, that we don’t know for certain which system is more harmful. This is because we do not look at organic pesticides the same way that we look at conventional pesticides. We don’t know how long these organic pesticides persist in the environment, or the full extent of their effects.

When you look at lists of pesticides allowed in organic agriculture, you find warnings such as, “Use with caution. The toxicological effects of [organic pesticide X] are largely unknown,” or “Its persistence in the soil is unknown.” Again, researchers haven’t bothered to study the effects of organic pesticides because it is assumed that “natural” chemicals are automatically safe.

Why haven’t we read this before?

For obvious reasons, organic farmers have done little, if anything, to dispel the myth that “organic = chemical/pesticide-free”. They would only stand to lose business by making such a disclosure.

Pesticide manufacturers have little concern in the matter. To them, “synthetic pesticides sold” and “organic pesticides sold” are both “pesticides sold”.

As for conventional farmers, they are not really in a position to be critical. It would not be in their interest to draw attention to chemical and pesticide use.

In conclusion

We make handmade soap using natural ingredients. Some of the ingredients is organically produced, but not certified as such. All our soap is cruelty free and suitable for vegetarians and most are suitable for vegans. We use No Palm Oil​, No SLE/SLES, No artificial colours or aromas​​ and No plastic packaging.

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