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Do 'natural' and 'botanical' mean safer?

September 23, 2009 |  6:00 pm

Sometimes we wonder how anyone lives to grow up, so riddled with hazards our lives apparently are.

This morning, for example, we received an e-mail informing us that:

"Average drug-store brand deodorant, shampoo, body wash and toothpaste is loaded with harmful ingredients that are very dangerous for children--such as Aluminum Chlorohydrate (linked with brain disorders), Parabens (linked with breast cancer), Propylene Glycol (commonly used in manufacturing antifreeze), and Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (a known carcinogen!).

The e-mail then suggested we might want to buy, instead, the company's own line of kids' deodorant, shampoo, body wash and toothpastes made with "safe, botanical ingredients".

Containing substances such as neem tree oil and leaf or bark extract, cinnamon oil, chamomile and calendula, these products may indeed send Johnny or Janey off to school smelling fresh as daisy patches, but we continue to wonder why the words "natural" and "botanical" are so often read as de facto safer. (Nightshade, datura and oleander, anyone?)

-- Rosie Mestel
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