Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps Files Lawsuit Against Major 'Organic' Cheater Brands

Offending Companies Claim "Organic" or "Organics" on Labels But Main

Cleansing Ingredients Are Based on Conventional Agricultural and/or

Petrochemical Material

Apr 28, 2008, 01:00 ET from Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps

    SAN FRANCISCO, April 28 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The family owned Dr.
 Bronner's Magic Soaps filed a lawsuit
 (http://www.drbronner.com/usda_organic_body_care.html) in California
 Superior Court today against numerous personal care brands to force them to
 stop making misleading organic labeling claims. Dr. Bronner's and the
 Organic Consumers Association (OCA) had warned offending brands that they
 faced litigation unless they committed to either drop their organic claims
 or reformulate away from main ingredients made from conventional
 agricultural and/or petrochemical material without any certified organic
 material. OCA has played the leading role in exposing and educating
 consumers about deceptive organic branding.
     David Bronner, President of Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps says, "We have
 been deeply disappointed and frustrated by companies in the 'natural'
 personal care space who have been screwing over organic consumers, engaging
 in misleading organic branding and label call-outs, on products that were
 not natural in the first place, let alone organic." Dr. Bronner's has
 determined, based on extensive surveys, that organic consumers expect that
 cleansing ingredients in branded and labeled soaps, shampoos and body
 washes that are labeled Organic", "Organics" or "Made with Organic" will be
 from organic as distinct from conventional agricultural material, produced
 without synthetic fertilizers, herbicides or pesticides, and free of
 petrochemical compounds.
     For example: The major cleansing ingredient in Jason "Pure, Natural &
 Organic" liquid soaps, body washes and shampoos is Sodium Myreth Sulfate,
 which involves ethoxylating a conventional non-organic fatty chain with the
 carcinogenic petrochemical Ethylene Oxide, which produces caricinogenic
 1,4-Dioxane as a contaminant. The major cleansing ingredient in Avalon
 "Organics" soaps, bodywashes and shampoos, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, contains
 conventional non-organic agricultural material combined with the
 petrochemical Amdiopropyl Betaine. Nature's Gate "Organics" main cleansers
 are Disodium Laureth Sulfosuccinate (ethoxylated) and Cocamidopropyl
 Betaine. Kiss My Face "Obsessively Organic" cleansers are Olefin Sulfonate
 (a pure petrochemical) and Cocamidopropyl Betaine. Juice "Organics",
 Giovanni "Organic Cosmetics", Head "Organics", Desert Essence "Organics",
 and Ikove "Organic" all use Cocamdiopropyl Betaine as a main cleansing
 ingredient and no cleansers made from certified organic material. Due to
 the petrochemical compounds used to make the ingredient, Cocamidopropyl
 Betaine is contaminated with traces of Sodium monochloroacetate
 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chloroacetic_acid), Amidoamine (AA)
 ) , and dimethylaminopropylamine(DMAPA)
 edit&redlink=1) . Amidoamine in particular is suspected of causing skin
 sensitization and allergic reactions even at very low levels for certain
 individuals. Organic consumers have a right to expect that the personal
 care products they purchase with organic branding or label claims, contain
 cleansing ingredients made from organic agricultural material, not
 conventional or petrochemical material, and thus have absolutely no
 petrochemical contaminants that could pose any concern.
     Dr. Bronner's products, in contrast to the brands noted above, contain
 cleansing and moisturizing ingredients made only from certified organic
 oils, made without any use of petrochemicals, and contain no petrochemical
 preservatives. The misleading organic noise created by culprit companies'
 branding and labeling practices, interferes with organic consumers ability
 to distinguish personal care whose main ingredients are in fact made with
 certified organic, not conventional or petrochemical, material, free of
 synthetic preservatives.
     Lawsuit Also Names Estee Lauder, Stella McCartney's CARE, Ecocert and
     Ecocert is a French-based certifier with a standard that allows not
 only cleansing ingredients made from conventional versus organic
 agriculture, but also allows inclusion, in the cleansing ingredients
 contained in products labeled as ":Made with Organic" ingredients, of
 certain petrochemicals such as Amidopropyl Betaine in Cocamidopropyl
 Betaine. Even worse, despite Ecocert's own regulations prohibiting the
 labeling as "Organic" of a product containing less than 100% organic
 content, Ecocert in practice engages in "creative misinterpretation" of its
 own rules in order to accommodate clients engaging in organic mislabeling.
 For instance, Ecocert certifies the Ikove brand's cleansing products to
 contain less than 50% organic content, noted in small text on the back of
 the product, where all cleansing ingredients are non-organic including
 Cocamidopropyl Betaine which contains petroleum compounds. Yet the product
 is labeled "Organic" Amazonian Avocado Bath & Shower Gel. Another instance
 is Stella McCartney's "100% Organic" CARE line certified by Ecocert that
 labels products as "100% Organic" that are not 100% Organic alongside ones
 that are; the labels of products that are not 100% organic simply insert
 the word "Active" before "Ingredients." In allowing such labeling, Ecocert
 simply ignores the requirements of its own certification standards.
 Furthermore, the primary organic content in most Ecocert certified products
 comes from "Flower Waters" in which up to 80% of the "organic" content
 consists merely of just regular tap water that Ecocert counts as "organic."
     Explicitly relying on the weak Ecocert standard as precedent, the new
 Organic and Sustainable Industry Standard ("OASIS")-a standard indeed
 developed exclusively by certain members of the industry, primarily Estee
 Lauder, with no consumer input--will permit certification of products
 outright as "Organic" (rather than as "Made with Organic" ingredients) even
 if such products contain hydrogenated and sulfated cleansing ingredients
 such as Sodium Lauryl Sulfate made from conventional agricultural material
 grown with synthetic fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides, and preserved
 with synthetic petrochemical preservatives such as Ethylhexylglycerin and
 Phenoxyethanol. [Reference: OASIS Standard section 6.2 and Anti-Microbial
 List] The organic content is required to only be 85%, which in water and
 detergent-based personal care products, means organic water extracts and
 aloe vera will greenwash conventional synthetic cleansing ingredients and
     The OASIS standard is not merely useless but deliberately misleading to
 organic consumers looking for a reliable indicator of true "organic"
 product integrity in personal care. Organic consumers expect that cleansing
 ingredients in products labeled "Organic" be made from organic not
 conventional agriculture, to not be hydrogenated or sulfated, and to be
 free from synthetic petrochemical preservatives. Surprisingly, companies
 represented on the OASIS board, such as Hain (Jason "Pure, Natural &
 Organic"; Avalon "Organics") and Cosway (Head "Organics",) produce liquid
 soap, bodywash and shampoo products with petrochemicals in their cleansers
 even though use of petrochemicals in this way is not permitted even under
 the very permissible OASIS standard these companies have themselves
 developed and endorsed.
     Ronnie Cummins, Executive Director of the OCA, said: "The pressure of
 imminent litigation outlined in cease and desist letters sent by OCA and
 Dr. Bronner's in March prompted some serious discussion with some of the
 offending companies, but ultimately failed to resolve the core issues."

SOURCE Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps