Thursday, January 17, 2008

Cropwatch Challenges SCCP (Scientific Committee on Consumer Products) Stance on Tea Tree Oil

The Natural Perfumers Guild has partnered with Cropwatch in the past, most notably in early 2007, when the Guild joined them in challenging the adoption of IFRA's (International Fragrance Association) 40th Amendment without public review or input. We further support Cropwatch in their ongoing efforts to bring an outside evaluation as to the practices related to the legislative control of natural aromatics as they are used in the body care, aromatherapy and perfumery industries. The information presented below is further documentation of Cropwatch's ongoing efforts:



The SCCP has the subject of tea tree oil (TTO) on its agenda for its Brussels meeting of 22.01.08. You will remember that allegations about the instability & skin safety of tea tree oil, as well as complaints about gaps in the toxicity data, were previously made in the flawed SCCP Opinion SCCP/0843/04, to which the Australian Tea Tree Oil Industries Association ATTIA (but not producers of Chinese TTO) dutifully responded by privately submitting evidence to the SCCP on March 31st 2007. You might want to consider some further points:

a.) That the pharmaceutical industry sees the widespread use & beneficial effects of TTO as competitive to its health-care products portfolio and that Brussels is frequently visited by pharmaceutical trade lobbyists. Aspersions are frequently made in the media against the safety or efficacy of particular essential oils (which

Cropwatch will list in detail in its next Newsletter) which have advantaged the interests of the pharmaceutical & chemical trades. Questions need to be asked why baseless allegations about TTO safety have prompted this particular chain of events starting in 2004.

b.) That ATTIA were in a privileged position with respect to fund-raising for financing the safety studies demanded by the SCCP, via Australian governmental & customer-base support. Whilst it is heartening to see the essential oil industry defending itself against toxicological imperialism for once, taking this as a precedent for further SCCP safety data demands for other essential oils & natural aromatic ingredients would seriously financially compromise the position of the essential oil producing industry.

c.) Cropwatch is grateful to Ian Southwell for delivering the ATTIA booklet to us at Graz in 2007, which summarises the TTO findings as presented to SCCP. However as we understand it, the actual experimental data has only been presented to the SCCP committee. This lack of transparency concerning privately submitted evidence to the SCCP by third parties is not uncommon - a similar situation exists, for example, with the research on photoclastogenicity for the furanocoumarins bergamottin & isopimpinellin, privately commissioned by RIFM & carried out by David Kirkland of Covance UK. RIFM's summary of the findings in its’ 2007 Newsletter does not substitute for access to the full data being available in the public domain.

Cropwatch Statement.

1. Cropwatch has been collecting information on any end-user adverse effects from TTO oil usage, via the public returns of an extensive questionnaire on its website However at a meeting between Cropwatch, the Perfume Foundation & members of the Cosmetics Commission in Brussels in 2007, Cropwatch were told that end-user data on ingredients was not admissible as evidence for safety assessments. As we consider this position to be both nonsensical & legally challengeable, Cropwatch has continued to keep the TTO questionnaire running on its website, since completed questionnaires continue to be received from TTO users. We will be closing the project shortly, and the data will be independently scientifically assessed.

2. Cropwatch has no confidence in the SCCP to be able to properly assess the risks presented by the use of TTO, because, amongst other things, estimations of any actual adverse effects from end-users are ignored. It was admitted during the Cropwatch-Perfume Foundation-Cosmetics Commission meeting mentioned above that, up to that point, comprehensive data-searching of the published literature on specific topics was unavailable to Brussels staff.

Evidently then it cannot be ruled out that the SCCP Opinion SCCP/0834/04 was merely based on a trawl of selective evidence, & its conclusions have to be regarded as unsafe. Further, Cropwatch considers that a negative safety opinion on tea tree oil as a cosmetic ingredient would rebound on the more widespread use of tea tree oil as a biocide (e.g. to help combat hospital-acquired MRSA or Clostridium difficile infections).

Because risk-benefit considerations for individual ingredients are not taken into consideration by the cosmetics Commission (stated Cosmetics Commission policy to Cropwatch, 2007) the SCCP may in this instance be in danger of generating an Opinion, which either indirectly or directly, could affect public safety.

3. From information already disclosed by ATTIA regarding their full findings, and from Cropwatch's so far unpublished questionnaire returns, it would seem that predictions of adverse health effects from TTO oil usage by career toxicologists and others involved in advising the EU regulator, were considerably exaggerated.

As this is a further example of safety assessment imbalance at Brussels, Cropwatch calls for a review of the way that cosmetic ingredient safety is assessed by the regulator, since the existing (over-) precautionary principled approach is clearly failing the public.

Cropwatch Team 2008.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Perfumery tips to make life easier for the artisan perfumer

Sometimes it's difficult to find items for the work we do. Scent strip holders are nearly impossible to find, and the ones coming out of France, which are usually given away at trade shows, are ugly, in my opinion. I corresponded last year with the *only* firm in France that produces them (at least that's what I was told) and I just gave up. I am wanting to have some made with the Natural Perfumers Guild logo on them, either in steel or wood. I either had to contract for a minimum of 1000 or buy their squat, off-the-shelf ones. Sometimes photo or memo holders can do the job, like the Sputnik photo clip contraption found at Target and other stores.

Diane Rowles, a student in my class, deserves a round of applause for discovering that antique wire "frogs", used to hold flowers in place in a vase, fit the bill. You can just push the scent strip in with one hand (a real advantage over the "clip" models,) and they're small and don't take up much room on the table. Better yet, they're inexpensive. Diane got a load of them, and she'll be selling them to her classmates and will also offer them on the Natural Perfumery group on Yahoo soon. The pic above is shows three frogs with the kit of aromatics box she received at class enrollment, and she's place a few of the aromatics in the picture, too. Very cute!

This one is just so evocative of the Grasse perfume industry. What that room of roses must have smelled like! Again, the three frogs could hold top, middle and base notes, or accords of them, to assist in your evaluation studies.

Dara, from the Natural Perfumery group, just helped us all tremendously by informing us that there are inexpensive enameled trays available from art supply stores that can fill in for the pricier stainless steel baking trays I've been recommending to students and group members. A spill is inevitable when working with the aromatics. Even drops, not a full spill, on a table top can destroy the surface, or, worse to our "noses", "pollute" the air of the studio with the lingering scent. We want our studios to be as scent-free as possible to enable us to clearly evaluate the materials as we're working with them. When I wrote recommending the stainless steel tray in the NP group the other day, Dara told us to check out "Butcher's Trays" aka "Palette Trays" from the art supply stores. Very affordable - most under $12, good size, and with the small lip necessary (a big lip, or edge, is awkward.) The trays have a slightly convex form, which would allow spills to drain to the edges, but not enough of a bulge to interfere with sitting a bottle down. Very nice! Dara is now our official "Save the Spill Maven". You'll remember her name and this equipment tip if you ever spill or dribble either a pricey or very strong aromatic, believe me.

If you spill, just have some cotton balls at hand, and sop it up and put it in a bottle and cover with alcohol. At least you'll have a nice dilution, and have saved the aromatic. You can also pour (if the spill is really large) into a bottle, or use a pipette to gather it up.

Just some helpful, fun stuff I wanted to share with all the site visitors. Happy perfuming!

Friday, January 11, 2008

Spring 2008 Natural Perfumery Online Course Registration

The image above is really nice viewed in its original size. Just click it on.

The world image is used in the online course website's internal pages. The students see that pictorial banner when the log in for their study modules, chats, or when the access the site to catch up on the downloads needed for class, to follow links or any of the many options available. The image was chose to best illustrate the ability of this course to link up natural perfumery students worldwide.

You can click on the detailed Classes page on Anya's Garden for details and to read a testimonial from a Fall 2007 student. More testimonials are available upon request.

The Fall 2007 class contains 26 students spanning the globe from Australia to Belgium. The Spring 2008 class, which is just being formally announced here for pre-registration is already half full, and the geographic stretch is a little further: China to Italy. I am very, very humbled by the interest and passion and dedication these students show. By signing up for a one-year course they show that they are seriously intent on developing and honing their skills in natural perfumery, and the reward for me is the realization that I'm helping train future perfumers and that I am putting them on the path to career fulfillment.

Signup is here and you can read more of the nuts and bolts of the class by visiting here. The latter site has been updated and archives the evolution of some of the course content and focus after feedback from students came in, and after some technical glitches of the inaugural class were settled. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions by clicking on this link.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

It's Always Fun to Win!

It was a great surprise to find out this morning that I won something yesterday, the first day of the new year. Here's what I posted on my Yahoo group, and please note the contest I've now posted there is only open to members of that group:
I'm not like many other perfumers -- I do not sample, or keep up with what's on the market. As an artist, I like to create for my own muse. I do get to sample the lovely perfumes of the Guild members, because they send them to me for the Guild Scent Library.

Marina, of the great blog Perfume Smellin' Things recently had a drawing for eight of her special favorites of the past year, and I won, picked at random out of 112 entries! I used to win stuff all the time when I entered contents, and I haven't for a while (entered contests, that is), so I'm going to start again. Stuff I've won in the past: An Apple Ibook, a trip out of town to an away game with the Tampa Buccaneers, lots of electronics, and yes, some perfume and stuff I can't remember. I just felt the urge to see what 8 of her favs of 2007 smelled like, and I was blessed with my name being picked.

Mandy's Tango is in the win -- so that makes it doubly nice!

From the site: The winner, randomly chosen, will receive small vials of Jubilation 25, Private Collection Tuberose Gardenia, Tango, Chanel No 18, 31 Rue Cambon, Silver Factory, Bois de Copaiba and Black Orchid Voile de Fleur.

I found the announcement of my win by accident early this morning. As fate would have it, I was reading the great story of my friend and customer Ida, and how a perfumer honored her by creating a perfume that is "her". I'm sure she's way more "over the moon" than me by her "win" - being singled out by the perfumer as a perfumista worthy of a signature scent, but my little win got my toes tapping :-) , especially since I was in such a good mood reading her good fortune/surprise, and then, up pops my name. Whee!

A Great start to 2008!

And to "Pay it forward" -- I'll send a set of samples of my perfumes, including Temple, which is not available in sample size - to any of the group member who posts here just a sentence or two about why they love/need/appreciate this group. This contest will close on Sunday, the 7th, and the winner will be picked randomly.

Update: Wow, I'm butterfingers lately, lol. I posted this five times. I'm not *that* excited by the win, but I guess I'm just in a big old rush lately. And for Maureen, who found the *funniest!* typo on my year-end round up, darlin', you won yourself a set of samples of my perfumes, plus a nice vial of ruh kewda, the rarest of the rare. Lube, dube, wube, hube, tube, ha ha ha public, mublic, wublic, etc. - oh, and I added some more snarks to the 2007 page, encrypted ones, too, no typos there! And I've remembered to add the labels for this post. The good, the bad, the weird