Even if your Essential Oils are 100% Pure, They are not 100% Safe

Even if your Essential Oils are 100% Pure, They are not 100% Safe

It amazes me when I hear people say that because their essential oils are 100 percent pure therapeutic grade, or certified pure therapeutic grade or organic that they are 100% pure they are 100% safe.  Well I’m here to tell you that even water can kill a person if they drink too much (like a fu*kTon of it) but still there have been people that have overdosed on water…. and Essential Oils are a lot more concentrated and powerful than water people.  A lion is 100% pure and natural, but you wouldn’t want to cuddle with a hungry one would you?

The bottom line is that I don’t believe that substances are safe, or unsafe.  I believe that people create safe and unsafe situations with substances.  Aaaand that’s why it is important to talk about dilution.  Dilution is important for a number of reasons.  Sensitization doesn’t happen overnight, it is a reaction that your body develops as a result of overexposure to substances multiple times.  One day you wake up and start breaking out in a rash from your beloved Jazmine oil, but it wasn’t that day that caused the problem. It was all the times before that, when you put a very powerful (too powerful) substance on your body neat, your body became more and more irritated with the invader (jazmine in this case) until it finally said enough is enough.  Sensitization is a great reason to dilute, you don’t want your body to get rid of your favorite scent do you?

People argue all the time that if you diffuse it, it isn’t being diluted… well when you diffuse it, the droplets are being broken down into micro droplets, so although they aren’t diluted you aren’t getting nearly the same quantity of drops.

So what is proper dilution?

Experts Say that depending on the age and size of the person the dilution rate ranges from 2-5% of Essential Oil to carrier oil.  An easy way to remember this is that if you mix in a 5ml roller ball (find out why I prefer 5 ml roller balls in a later post), 1 drop of essential oil is the equivalent of 1% of essential oil in the mixture when you top the bottle off with your carrier oil.  This is in very simplistic terms but it is a far cry from the way my essential oil educator told me to put between 30 and 50 drops in a 10ml roller ball (thats about 3 times more than what experts recommend for an adult looking for therapeutic benefits).  And My oils last so much longer,,, I wonder if that is why so many people say to apply them neat,,, it uses more oil? Costing you more $, and making them more $?

So one of the crazy things people ask is how can I make a 1% roller ball of a recipe that calls for 3 different types of oils.  Trust me I struggled with this a little bit too.

For Example one Children’s Migraine Essential Oil Blend calls for:

  • 4 Drops Roman Chamomile Essential Oil
  • 4 Drops Rosemary Essential Oil
  • 6 Drops Sweet Marjoram Essential Oil
  • 6 Drops Sweet Marjoram Essential Oil
  • 6 Drops Spearmint Essential Oil
  • 6 Drops Bergamot Essential Oil
  • 6 Drops Lavender Essential Oil

Well I’m glad you asked because the answer is not to just put 1 drop of each in the roller ball and hope for the best even though that is what some oily people will tell you.  The answer is that you mix the essential oils together in a different container ( I love using sample vials for this) and then put the appropriate number of drops of that mixture into your roller ball and top with carrier oil  This method is better for 2 reasons.

  1. The first reason this is that you know you are always being safe and not potentially developing a sensitivity.
  2. The second reason is that individually your essential oils have great qualities, however together, their therapeutic qualities magnify.  — that is the definition of synergy.    And I didn’t make it up, It is actually from pg 11 of The Complete book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy .

 

 

With little people that can’t tell us any different I would go with less is more and always err on the side of caution.  Here is what Worwood says on the topic, and she is the most thorough source I can find.  Not to mention her ratios are the most conservative which is where I would start with my children.  In addition to giving the dilution ratios, she gives a list of oils that are safe to be used at each stage of development, which makes total sense because as their bodies are developing, they may not be able to process or assimilate all the oils.

  • Children 2 weeks to 2 months can have 1 drop in 2 Tablespoons of Carrier Oil of Essential oil of german or roman chamomile, lavender or mandarin.  (That’s 1 drop total, not one drop of each).
  • 3-6 Month old infants can have 2 drops of Essential Oil in 2 tablespoons of sweet almond oil or Camellia Seed carrier oil of German or roman Chamomile, Coriander seed, geranium, Lavender, Mandarin, Melaleuca.  Again that is 2 drops total of any of these oils, not 2 drops of each of them.
  • 7 Mont old to 2 year old infants can have 3-4 drops diluted in 2 tablespoons of sweet almond or camellia Seed oil of the following oils: German or roman chamomile, Coriander Seed, Frankincense, Geranium, Lavender, Mandarin, Manuka, Sweet Orange, palmarosa, Ravensara, Thyme Linalol
  • 3-5 year olds can have 4-6 drops diluted in 2 tablespoons of sweet almond oil of: German or Roman cahmomile, Frankincense, Geranium, ginger, Lavender, mandarine, Manuka, Palmarosa, Ravensara, Ravintsara, Rosewood, Spearmint, Melaleuca
  • Children 6-8 Years can have 5-7 drops diluted in 2 tablespoons of Sweet almond oil: Roman or German chamomile, Clary Sage, Coriander Seed, Cypress, Eucalyptus, Fragonia, Frankincense, Geranium, Ginger, Ho Wood, Lavender, mandarin, Manuka, Niaouli, Sweet Orange, palmarosa, Petitgrain, Ravensara, Ravintsara, Rosemary, rosewood, Spearmint, Tangerine, Melaleuca, Thyme, Ylang Ylang
  • Children 9-12 years can have 6-8 drops diluted in carrier oil of choice

 

That’s it for now.  I hope this helps you dilute on a more consistent basis, and even if you are ok with applying neat, just remember before you tell someone else it is fine remember that they might be more sensitive than you, their physiological make up is different than you and just because it is good for you, doesn’t mean that it is good for them.  It is so much better to be safe than sorry.

 

 

 

“It may be time to consider how safe so-called safe plastics really are”

 

You hear reps all the time saying don’t use plastics with essential oils, but then you will see that same company bottling their products (think shampoo, conditioner and hand soap) in plastic bottles.  I was really curious about this, so I decided to dig in and of course share the information with you.
Why do reps tell you not to use oils in plastic containers in the first place?  I began to question this after squeezing lemon (not oil, just a regular lemon slice) into a styrophome cup on an airplane years ago.  After about 15 minutes the inside of the cup had parts of the styrophome that were literally melting.  That’s when I began thinking about how different materials are better than others for drinking/storing things.

Fast forward a decade and I’m in grad school getting my MFA in Glass Sculpture when I began helping a bioengineering PHD candidate on his dissertation.  He was looking for a way to create a glass medical slide that had channels running lengthwise with a little well at either end so that they could put a chemical in one end and grow brain neurons on the other end to see how different chemicals affect the brain, and whether the neurons grow towards the chemical or away from it.  Crazy right, I was an art major helping this literal brainiac.  Well he needed my help because glass is one of the most resistant materials there is to chemical breakdown (other than a few very strong acids it is impervious to chemical interaction in it’s solid state. At the time the only product on the market to do this type of analysis was plastic, but in many cases the plastic would interfere with the chemicals undermining the results. I know this is crazy.

Needless to say I am now researching essential oils and everyone says don’t use plastic… Even I tell people not to do it because I know that lemon oil (the one most commonly taken internally with water) can break down styrophome, I can’t even imagine what other oils can do.

The bottom line is this, plastics are reacting with a host of things, some as benign as water, imagine what essential oils can do.   They are showing to release hormone disruptors as well as other harmful chemicals.  As such glass is always your best option.  There are plastics that people say are ok to use with oils, I would say use them sparingly, and only in a pinch when you have no other option.

So what plastics are “considered” safe?

  • HDPE plastic (High Density Polyethylene)
  • #1 plastic
  • #2 plastic
  • Thick, food grade plastic

As far as the hand soap, shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste and other products; the potency of the essential oils are reduced dramatically when they are diluted in these products, therefore not having the same effect on the plastic, and if you are buying from a reputable company, they will always be in one of the above plastic containers. DoTerra uses number one plastic for their packaging containers, however after a quick search I did find this about plastic #1; it is from a site called “living without plastic”, so it is not unbiased.  It is interesting however.

Polyethylene terephthalate (PET or PETE or polyester)

Description: PET is the most well known member of the polyester family of plastic polymers. It initially gained widespread use as a wrinkle-free fiber (commonly called “polyester”), and the majority of its production still goes toward textile manufacturing. It has become extremely popular for food and drink packaging purposes because of its strong ability to create a liquid and gas barrier – so oxygen cannot get in to spoil food, and the carbon dioxide that makes drinks fizzy cannot get out. Properties: clarity, lightness, strength, toughness, barrier to liquid and gas.

Typical Use: Bottles (water, soft drink, juice, beer, wine, mouthwash, salad dressing), peanut butter/jam jars, oven-ready and microwaveable meal trays, detergent and cleaner containers. Also used in liquid crystal displays, film for capacitors, insulation for wire and insulating tapes, and as a common finish for wood products such as guitars, pianos and vehicle/yacht interiors.

PET fabric (polyester) is commonly used in textiles (fabric and clothing), padding and insulation (for pillows, comforters, upholstery), carpet, and mouldings. Also for tyre reinforcements, conveyor belts, safety belts, coated fabrics and tarpaulins. 

Toxicity: PET may leach antimony (antimony trioxide is used as a catalyst and flame retardant in PET) (PET1, PET2). The longer a liquid is left in a PET container the greater the potential for release. As well, warm temperatures inside cars, garages, and enclosed storage areas increase the release of antimony into the liquid. Antimony trioxide is considered a possible carcinogen (PET3). Workers exposed to antimony trioxide for long periods of time have exhibited respiratory and skin irritation and among female workers, increased incidence of menstrual problems and miscarriage — while there is no evidence that these effects could arise from exposure to the small amounts of antimony released from PET products (such as water bottles), we prefer not to be exposed to it at all (PET3).

Evidence is also emerging that phthalate endocrine disruptors also leach from PET (PET4, PET5).

PET as a textile – i.e., polyester – likely contains flame retardants incorporated into it during the manufacturing process. As such, polyester is often described as “inherently flame retardant”, but it is unclear exactly which flame retardant chemicals are added to polyester as it is being made, and thus it is difficult to know if there is a toxicity issue with polyester fibre.  

Recycling: About 29% (PET6). Recycled material downcycled into polyester fibre for fleece clothing, tote bags, strapping. Note: “Downcycling” means that the recycled material is of lower quality than the original PET, and can only be made into progressively lower quality products until it can no longer be recycled and becomes landfill waste which is most likely landfilled.

Alternatives: Use a glass or stainless steel reusable water bottle. Buy in glass and reuse those bottles/jars – mason jars are incredibly versatile. Choose natural fabrics (e.g., organic cotton, wool, hemp) for clothing.

Our Suggestion: AVOID. Many consider PET a relatively safe single use plastic, but given the research indicating it can release antimony and phthalates, and our precautionary approach, we suggest avoiding it whenever possible. If you must use it, keep it away from heat and do not reuse it.”

However then I ran across some studies being done in Germany, and since I typically trust European and Australian interests in health over commercialism, I personally, always give a little more weight to studies being done there.  Although the results are different, and not complete yet, the resulting opinion, I couldn’t agree with more; “it may be time to consider how safe so-called safe plastics really are”.

Snail effect

German mineral water comes from natural springs. So, to see if the estrogenic compounds were actually coming from the water itself, Wagner emptied the bottles and replaced the water with a pure snail medium and a tiny species of snail that is especially sensitive to estrogenic compounds.  Eight weeks later, female snails living in plastic bottles had more than twice as many embryos inside their bodies compared to the glass-grown snails.  “Something from the plastic,” says Wagner, “must have leached out and changed the reproductive patterns of our snails.”  Wagner cautions against jumping to conclusions. Water is still a healthy beverage, he says. And until the compounds at work in the snail study have been identified, it’s not possible to know if PET plastics pose a human health risk.  Still, tests in his lab have shown far less estrogenic activity in tap water than in even the most “ultra-pure” bottled waters.  “Having done all of these experiments, I started drinking tap water,” says Wagner. “It might have other stuff in it, but at least it doesn’t have estrogenic compounds.”  Swan says, it may also be time to reconsider how safe so-called “safe” plastics really are.  “I used to say: ‘4, 5, 1, and 2. All the rest are bad for you,'” she says, referring to the recycling codes on plastic products.  “Now, I’m not saying that anymore. We don’t know about 4, 5, 1, or 2. This raises questions about all plastic bottles.”
Another source says :

Never Use Oils in These:

  • Water bottles
  • Solo cups and their equivalents
  • Plastic drinking straws
  • Plastic kitchenware
  • Thin plastic containers
  • (Styrofoam)

As far as me, I will continue to purchase my products because I love them, but am actively looking for glass containers to put them in.  The problem is that most glass containers have plastic pumps and caps and things like that.  I’ll let you know what I find.
That’s all for now

Xo

S