Is organic certification the only way to judge the safety of essential oils?

July 23, 2018

As people are turning to sustainable products deemed good for health that pose low or no health risks, the demand for organic essential oils is increasing. Although essential oils are natural products, you cannot ensure that it is free from synthetic pesticides used during cultivation and harvesting. To ensure that you buy essential oils free from pesticides, be ready to shell out extra money for getting it. Any organic food could cost you almost 50% more than the regular price, and it would be the same for essential oils too.  From food to cosmetics and essential oils, the craze for organic purity is growing as people are ready to put a price on their health.

Pesticide-free or less pesticide?

The choice is obvious. Either you go for organic essential oils that do not have any synthetic pesticide, or you choose non-organic oils that have the least amount of pesticide. It will not be right to look for something completely free from pesticide because even if the products do not use synthetic pesticides, they might have some other pesticides that originate from natural sources. Think carefully before deciding between organic and non-organic essential oils because a tiny amount of pesticide within permissible limits in essential oils might not be that bad.

Organic pesticides

There is a tendency among people to take a holier than thou approach when taking the side with organic essential oils that shun all kinds of pesticides. That is an overdoing, and the rational approach should be first to consider how much and what type of pesticide the body can tolerate. It is impossible to get pesticide-free products because the pesticide is essential for farming and cultivation.  All pesticides are not bad provided it comes from some natural source, and therefore you must not have reservations about it. Only the synthetic pesticides if used above permissible limits can be harmful. When buying products from any organic essential oils direct sales channel, looking for pesticide-free natural oil could make you go in circles unless you know what would suit you best.

Organic certification

When you try to obtain organic certified essential oils, you will discover an interesting fact. In the market, you will find pesticide-free essential oils that do not have any organic certification. The reason is that plants of essential oil come from many third world countries of the world that do not have organic farming resources necessary to meet the organic standards for obtaining the certificate. Although the framers may not use pesticides, they do not have the financial means and access to the infrastructure of getting the certificate.

Pesticides can vanish during distillation

Oil soluble pesticides used in essential oils disappear during the extraction process as the oil mixes with water and escape together with water vapor in the distillation process depending on the volatility. The problem comes from oil-soluble pesticides that combine with essential oils during distillation.

Therefore, thorough label check of essential oils is a better way of deciding its acceptability rather than being rigid about organic certification.

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Andi Perullo de Ledesma

I am Andi Perullo de Ledesma, a Chinese Medicine Doctor and Travel Photojournalist in Charlotte, NC. I am also wife to Lucas and mother to Joaquín. Follow us as we explore life and the world one beautiful adventure at a time.

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