Sunday, May 26, 2013

Some neat stuff I thought might interest you for a long weekend...

As I mentioned a few weeks ago, there are no old posts on this blog! But sometimes interesting discussion on not-so-recent posts get lost, so I thought I'd share a few I've seen this week...

Looking for some ideas on tools you can use to mix your products? Check out the discussion in this post - Creating Products: Combining the two phases - mixing. If you're interested in more in depth information, check out this post - Physics Friday: Shear - which is all about why the different mixers work differently!

Why we need to use preservatives (as if you needed more reasons!) I wanted to share this comment from this post on preservatives with you. Unfortunately, the commenter didn't leave her name...

I would like to comment if I may. I had the unfortunate experience approx 4 years ago of using a "natural" (no recognised preservative) lotion. Long story short..I ended up in hospital. I agree totally with everything Susan says regarding preservatives...and I also don't think she was being rude at yes. I am a person who nearly died because some idiot thought "fairy dust" was an effective preservative. Luckily I managed to escape with damaged eye sight and a big scar in the middle of my face. If you think Susan was rude, you really dont't want to hear all my views LOL. And my damaged eyesight, hospital stay and scar make me qualified to give an opinion.

Wow! Thank you for sharing. I'm so sorry you had to go through this!

This is why I'm always on you about using preservatives! Would you want the knowledge that you hurt someone on your conscience? Especially when it's so easy to not put someone through that?

Does this sound plausible to you? Recently someone posted that we shouldn't use borax because it can mutate unborn babies and cause cancer. Take a moment and consider this statement. 

You can buy borax at your local corner store on a shelf that children can reach. If there were even the slightest chance this could harm anyone, would they sell it to consumers at all, or would they sell it in speciality stores that required a special permit before purchasing? And wouldn't the box have a huge red warning with skulls and crossbones and probably someone dying horribly in silhouette if it caused these problems?

I see people all the time saying they trust common sense over science - a concept that completely baffles me, as if science is just one thing instead of being everything! - and if that is the case, how can this kind of sentence be spoken aloud? Really ask yourself if what you're hearing is plausible. Some might consider big corporations to be evil, money driving empires, but borax is something like $5 a box, and if they were turning babies into monsters and killing their customers, wouldn't they lose tons of money in the lawsuits and lack of custom from dead people?

Just a few thoughts for the day!


MsClogs said...

Re: the borax statement, its advisable to refer to the new REACH guidelines in the EU. Borax was added to the Substance of Very High Concern (SVHC) candidate list on 16 December 2010. The SVHC candidate list is part of the EU Regulations on the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals 2006 (REACH), and the addition was based on the revised classification of Borax as toxic for reproduction category 1B under the CLP Regulations. Substances and mixtures imported into the EU which contain Borax are now required to be labelled with the warnings "May damage fertility" and "May damage the unborn child".

So whilst the phrasing chosen by the person who made those comments re borax is unfortunate, it's also not plucked out of thin air. Just because a product is within reach of small children in a shop, doesn't make it inherently safe.

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi MsClogs! Thanks for this information. Do you happen to have any links or studies or anything else you could send along? (I won't have a chance to do research until this weekend, so if you have them handy, I'd be so grateful!) I'm not doubting this was ruled, but I'm wondering about the science behind it.

My point about it being sold at local shops was to give us pause for thought. People are always telling me they trust common sense over science - a concept that baffles me because science isn't just one thing! - but often those same people don't follow their thoughts to their logical ends, which is to say that if it's sold in a local shop without huge warnings, it might be possible this idea of it being immensely dangerous might not be valid.

I do think it interesting that people who are trying to avoid ethoxylated emulsifiers turn to borax and beewax so much. Which would they consider more harmful, I wonder? Such an interesting topic!

Thanks for giving me stuff to think about today!

MsClogs said...

Hi Susan,
Will see what I can find for you!

I couldn't agree more with you on the common sense vs science point. I'm also a big fan of the precautionary principle although I think sometimes our legislation goes too far to protect us from ourselves...

I also completely agree with you on the preservatives point. Here in the EU, cosmetics manufacturers (and that includes small craft retailers) will have to subject all water-containing cosmetics to challenge tests before being allowed to sell them under the new cosmetics regs. In other words, you will need something to preserve your product or you won't get your safety certificate and cannot sell your product! Makes sense to me! :-)

MsClogs said...

Hi Susan,
Here's the main link for the classification of disodium tetraborate (which I believe is borax?) under the EU's REACH regulations. It's classified as Carcinogenic, Mutagenic and toxic to Reproduction (CMR). click here for link

There are clearly lots more docs behind this one and it's always pretty tough going hacking through EU docs but hopefully this will give you some background info.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for REMINDING people once again that preservatives are in existence to protect people. I see too many crafters selling their products and not having a clue a bout the use of preservatives in products. I would rather have a preserved product than one that was germ fiesta.
Crafters don't think about how people are going to use their products - dirty hands, leaving caps off, introducing water to product, leaving products in heat etc.

Andrea said...

Borax, boric acid and boron salts are generally considered safe, not carcinogens (except in one study that I found on testicular tumors in rats*) and not a mutagen or teratogen.
NPIC technical fact sheet on borax and related:
One of a few research articles/journal reviews on the safety of borax+related:

*Which seems to be the main argument that was used to get boron salts classified in the EU as carcinogens.

I wasn't sure what was going on with the EU laws, but it looks like they may have been classified based on not-that-great literature review in 2004/2005 and some member countries asked for reassessing the classification of boron salts and related in 2012 so this classification may change in the near future. A review of current justification of borax classification laws in the EU: (basically mostly concluding that they jumped the gun based on little science, and supported by member countries asking for reassessment). Even currently it's classified as Class E (apparently), which is low carcinogen rating (but it likely should not be there at all).

Anyway, I think actual accurate data that took me a few minutes to look up after I got tired of accidentally running into supposed scientists commenting on your blog questioning posts, preservative use, infused oil danger posts etc. without bothering to do a cursory literature check on their part. (Not in this post, but other posts on preservatives and such posted in the past year - been catching up on the last six months of posts I'm behind on :)). (I too am a biologist, and it took me not that much time to find out the real story with the borax issue, so it shouldn't take others that much time to come up with similar results if they weed out dubious sources - which actually in this case tend to be a DEFENSE of borax (borax conspiracy posts) and whatnot).