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What's 'Natural' When It Comes To Personal Care Products?

NEW YORK, NY -- As the demand for "natural" personal care products such as lotions, balms and shampoos continues to soar, manufacturers are responding with a host of new products. Some are natural, some aren't. But how is a shopper to know?

Until now, consumers had no idea what was truly natural since there was no standard definition of the term used by industry.

That is no longer the case. To end this confusion and help consumers, the Natural Products Association announced today [May 1] a new certification program which defines natural and includes an easily-identified seal. Shoppers can expect the seal to begin appearing on certifier personal care products in the coming months.

"People want natural products because they are good for them and good for our environment," said Debra Short, president of the Natural Products Association. "But anyone could claim their product was 'natural,' even if it had 100 percent synthetic or petroleum-based. That wasn't fair to consumers or to companies who make truly natural products, and this seal will help end all that confusion."

Widespread Confusion Over Natural

With public interest in natural personal care products growing stronger each day, research confirms consumers are very confused about what constitutes a "natural" product. A recent survey by Yankelovich showed that:

-- More than three of every four (78 percent) American women think natural personal care is currently regulated or don't know if it is, while nearly all (97 percent) think it should be

-- Two of every three American women think a personal care product labeled "natural" should contain at least 95 percent natural ingredients

The New Natural Certification Program and Seal of Approval

Under the new program, products must follow strict guidelines set out by the Natural Products Association to merit bearing the seal. The criteria include, but are not limited to:

-- Product must be made up of at least 95 percent truly natural ingredients or ingredients that are derived from natural sources
-- No ingredients with any potential suspected human health risks
-- No processes that significantly or adversely alter the purity/effect of the natural ingredients
-- Ingredients that come from a purposeful, renewable/plentiful source found in nature (flora, fauna, mineral)
-- Processes that are minimal and don't use synthetic/harsh chemicals or otherwise dilute purity
-- Non-natural ingredients only when viable natural alternative ingredient are unavailable and only when there are absolutely no suspected potential human health risks

The full set of criteria can be found on the Natural Products Association Web site at http://www.naturalproductsassoc.org/certifiednatural. [See also their one-page fact sheet.]

The Natural Products Association standard is science-based and was developed by a team of experts from the association and natural products manufacturers. The advisory panel drew from a variety of sources, including relevant international standards, third-party organizations, existing research, and years of experience in the field. Advisors to the association are the leading natural personal care suppliers and manufacturers, including Aubrey Organics, Burt's Bees, Badger Balm, California Baby, Farmaesthetics, Trilogy Fragrances, and Weleda.

Source: Medical News Today

Natural Products Association is the nation's largest and oldest non-profit organization dedicated to the natural products industry. Natural Products Association represents almost 10,000 retailers, manufacturers, wholesalers and distributors of natural products including foods, dietary supplements, and health and beauty aids.

© 2008 Natural Products Association

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