We Are the Champions, My Friends

Today, the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics released a new report, Market Shift, which documents how they worked with cosmetics industry leaders over the past 7 years to raise awareness about personal care product safety. Through the Compact for Safe Cosmetics, companies voluntarily pledge to avoid chemicals banned in other countries, avoid harmful ingredients whenever possible and fully disclose their product ingredients. According to the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, increasing consumer demand for products made without hazardous chemicals has made natural and safe cosmetics the fastest-growing segment of the $50 billion cosmetics industry. This is great news for consumers looking for healthy options, and great news for companies that work hard to provide the safest, purest products for them.

I am proud to announce that Herban Lifestyle is one of the 432 companies that have achieved “Champion” or “Innovator” status by meeting the goals of the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics’ Compact for Safe Cosmetics! In fact, Herban Lifestyle achieved Champion status, which means that we:

• Comply with the European Union’s Cosmetics Directive, widely considered the global gold standard of cosmetics safety regulation,

• Disclose all ingredients, including ingredients in “fragrance,” which in the United States can be claimed as “confidential business information,” even when it contains hormone disruptors, carcinogens and other harmful chemicals,

• Publish and regularly update product information in EWG’s Skin Deep cosmetics database,

• Comply with any additional ingredient prohibitions and restrictions under the Compact and substitute ingredients of concern with safer alternatives, and

• Participate in the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics.

If you go to the Campaign’s Skin Deep Database, you will see that Herban Lifestyle products contain the safest ingredients available.

Market Shift shows how the Champions and Innovators (who range from small mom-and-pop businesses to some of the largest businesses in the natural products sector) are working toward higher standards of safety for personal care products, and are doing so successfully. As Mia Davis, organizing director of the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics said, “Their ability and willingness to work toward the Compact requirements shows not only that it is possible to make products that far exceed current safety standards in the United States, but also that making safe personal care products can be part of a successful business model.”

[Note: I have seen similar posts to this one on other sites that have attracted comments emphatically stating that there is no need for safer cosmetics because the FDA already assures that cosmetics are safe. It is true that the FDA has standards around cleanliness of facilities and non-contaminated products, which is very important. But safety in this context means that a product doesn’t have the potential to put you and your family at higher risk for cancer, diabetes and a host of other chronic diseases that are not as immediately apparent as a rash, but certainly have more dire long-term effects. For more details, please see the President’s Cancer Panel Report, which was released in April 2010. Also, today’s news on the FDA and contaminated cosmetics products indicates there is still some work to be done in this area, too.]

Join Us on 12/1 for the West Elm + Etsy Handmade Holiday Workshop & Mini-Market!

On Thursday, December 1st, West Elm stores across the country will be featuring gifts from local Etsy sellers, and Herban Lifestyle will be representing at Tyons Corner, in McLean, VA! At the Handmade Holiday Workshop & Mini-Mart, guests will have a chance make a holiday craft with an Etsy team and support a local charity. The Capital Region Etsy Street Team (CREST) will be at the Tysons event, and handmade ornaments and gifts donated at the event will benefit Jill’s House, a Vienna, VA non-profit that provides respite for children with intellectual disabilities and their families in the Greater Washington, DC area.

If you live somewhere other than the DC area, you can visit one of the other 37 West Elm locations to participate in the festivities, and contribute gifts and decorations to local charities chosen by each store. For more details, visit the West Elm website or RSVP on the Handmade Holiday Workshop & Mini-Mart Facebook Event Page.

So, I hope to see you on December 1st, from 6pm to 9pm!

West Elm
7866 L. Tysons Corner Center
McLean VA 22102

Fresco Green Scene, Our New Brick and Mortar Friend

image copyright Fresco Green Scene

Fresco Green Scene is an eco-lifestyle store located in Lancaster City. They specialize in safer, healthier, eco-conscious products, building, remodeling, bath, body, household detergents, gifts and accessories. And every product at Green Scene has been carefully researched to assure sustainability, fair trade and quality. For example, Fresco Green Scene now carries a full line of Herban Lifestyle MAN Grooming products and soaps :) They also have a filling station where you can buy empty bottles then fill them (and later refill them) with whatever quantities you like of shampoo, conditioner, hand soaps, laundry soaps, cleaners.

image copyright Fresco Green Scene

Owner Rick Frescatore created Fresco Green Scene as an extension of Fresco Green, his green building supplies and education center located in Manheim Township, Lancaster County, PA. He saw the new retail store as a way to expand his eco-friendly offerings from the larger environment (people’s homes) to the details within the environment (bath and body, and cleaning products).

image copyright Fresco Green Scene

You can also visit their Facebook fan page to see more photos and hear their latest news. Plus you can purchase many of their products from their Facebook online store. However, if you are in Pennsylvania, and would like to touch and feel their yummy green products, Fresco Green Scene’s brick and mortar store is located at 104 West Chestnut Street, 1st Floor, Lancaster, PA 17603.

Movember: Risky business

image copyright movember

We are now on week two of Movember, a moustache growing charity event held during November each year that raises funds and awareness for prostate cancer and men’s health in general (Mo, by the way, is Australian slang for mustache). Last week I provided some statistics on the incidence of prostate cancer in the United States, and this week, I thought I would list some risk factors for the disease. And again, to balance out the seriousness of this topic, I will follow the cold hard facts with some mustache-related photos for your enjoyment.

The National Cancer Institute (NCI) and Prostate Cancer Foundation have put together lists of prostate cancer risk factors based on current research. They are:

Age. Although it is very rare in men younger than 50 years, rates of prostate cancer increase exponentially over age 50. The rates are 1 in 10,000 men under age 40, 1 in 38 for ages 40 to 59, and 1 in 15 for ages 60 to 69.

Race. At all ages, incidence of prostate cancer in African Americans exceeds those of all other races. African American men are 60% more likely to develop prostate cancer compared with Caucasian men, and they are nearly 2.5 times as likely to die from the disease. [Note: I would guess this is largely due to dietary and environmental factors, including health care disparity and greater exposure to environmental toxins]

Family History. About 15% of men diagnosed with prostate cancer have a first-degree male relative (e.g., brother, father) with prostate cancer, compared with approximately 8% of all men.

Obesity. Obese men diagnosed with prostate cancer are more likely to have advanced disease that is more difficult to treat.

Where you live. Men who live in cities north of 40 degrees latitude have the highest risk for dying from prostate cancer of all men in the United States. It is thought that this might be related to reduced vitamin D levels due to low exposure to sunlight during three months of the year.

Dietary Fat. Prostate cancer rates varies from country to country by as much as 20-fold, and studies have demonstrated a direct relationship between a country’s prostate cancer mortality rate and average total calories from fat consumed by the country’s population. For example, studies of immigrants from Japan have shown that native-born Japanese men have the lowest risk of clinical prostate cancer, first generation Japanese-Americans have an intermediate risk, and subsequent generations have a risk comparable to the U.S. population. There are several possible reasons for this association, which you can find out more about on NCI’s website.

Dairy and Calcium Intake. In a meta-analysis of ten research studies (eight from the United States and two from Europe), it was found that men with the highest intake of dairy products and calcium were more likely to develop prostate cancer than men with the lowest intake. [Note: I would be curious to see if this applies to vegan men who get most of their calcium through green, leafy vegetables]

Hormones. There is evidence suggesting that the degree of cumulative exposure of the prostate to androgens is related to an increased risk of prostate cancer (see NCI’s website for technical details).

In addition to NCI’s list, the groundbreaking President’s Cancer Panel Report 2010 discusses some other environmental factors that contribute to risk of developing prostate cancer. For example, some chemicals thought to contribute to prostate cancer are inorganic arsenic in drinking water, and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB). BPA, which has been in the news a lot over the past couple of years, is also strongly indicated in contributing to the incidence of prostate cancer. The Center for the Evaluation of Risks to Human Reproduction also concluded in 2008 that there is “…some concern for effects on the brain, behavior, and prostate gland in fetuses, infants, and children at current human exposures to bisphenol A.” Several chemicals capable of mimicking the body’s hormones are suspected of causing prostate and testicular cancer, and BPA was found to cause biochemical changes in prostate tumor cells (in the laboratory) that could interfere with prostate cancer treatment.*

The NIH Agricultural Health study found that although overall cancer rates among farmers and pesticide applicators are not higher than other men and women in the study states (IA and NC), there are increased risks for specific cancers. For example, farmers and pesticide applicators have a significantly higher prostate cancer risk (female pesticide applicators have significantly higher incidence of ovarian cancer). Those who manufacture pesticides are also at a significantly higher risk for prostate cancer.

The Prostate Cancer Foundation, one of the benefactors of Movember’s fundraising efforts, also has a list of risk myths on their website.

Anthony: Movember, Day 8

As promised, I have posted an updated photo of Anthony Moriello, the face of Movember for my blog. He has gone from a clean-shaven man to an aspiring Erroll Flynn. You can support Anthony and his Movember team, the Wade Bogg All-Stars, by going to their Movember team page and making a donation. The funds raised by Movember go to some great organizations that promote true cancer prevention research, as well as screening, treatment and survivorship initiatives.

Erroll Flynn rocked the subtlest of mustaches

*Wetherill, Y. B., Hess-Wilson, J. K., Comstock, C. E. S., Shah, S. A., Buncher, C. R., Sallans, L, Limbach, P. A., Schwemberger, S., Babcock, G. F. & Knudsen, K. E. (2006). Bisphenol A facilitates bypass of androgen ablation therapy in prostate cancer. Molecular Cancer Therapeutics, 5, 3181-3190.

CARBON Hosts Eco-style Event to Benefit Fairfax Non-profit

On Saturday, November 19 CARBON, DC’s eco-boutique, will host a fun event to help raise money and awareness for FACETS, a Fairfax-based non-profit serving homeless families and individuals. We will be collecting toiletries and food for the families – bring a donation and receive a coupon good for 10% off at Carbon. There will be food, drinks, giveaways, and a portion of proceeds from the sale of both Herban Lifestyle products and Melissa Lew will go to FACETS.

image copyright Melissa Lew

On the 19th, I will be offering a special day of pampering, with free demos of my line of natural and organic certified cruelty-free bath and body products for men and women. The day will also feature a special collection by eco-friendly jewelry designer, Melissa Lew.  The Virginia-based designer combines elements of nature and architecture to inform her collection of refined recycled silver necklaces, bracelets, earrings, and Vitality, a unisex series of necklaces featuring Chinese symbols such as Peace, Trust, and Happiness.

November 19, 2011

Noon to 6 p.m.

CARBON

2643 Connecticut Ave., NW

Washington, DC  20008

(Woodley Park-Zoo Metro Station)

CARBON is committed to reducing your carbon-footprint by offering fashion-forward sustainable clothing, shoes, accessories, and handbags.  We carry small, independent designers and companies both locally and internationally who operate from a corporate social responsibility mission.  Several of our designers create hand-crafted and fair trade products.  CARBON is generated by 100% local wind turbines, implements the 3 Rs religiously – reduce, reuse, recycle – and supports local environmental and human rights initiatives.  CARBON also offers wardrobe consultation and personal shopping.

Meet One Well, Our New Eco-Chic Brick and Mortar Friend

image copyright one well

The One Well opened its doors in Brooklyn last month. It is a home and body boutique featuring the work of local and global eco-friendly artisans along with carefully selected vintage pieces. The One Well was created by owner Kerry Jones as a place where people can find beautiful, environmentally responsible items to help beautify their homes and treat their bodies.

image copyright the one well

The One Well offers artisanal foods (like a yummy-sounding authentic Mexican caramel made with goat milk), hand casted beeswax candles, quilted bedding, gorgeous paper goods, unique jewelry and much more.

image copyright the one well

I met Kerry when she visited my booth at this year’s Renegade Craft Fair in Brooklyn, NY. As she described her vision for One Well, it sounded like the perfect place for my products and a place where I would love to shop. Along with the work of a variety of artisans, the One Well will carry a special line of my fuzzy soaps in earth tones, with earthy scents, as well as my MAN grooming products.

image copyright the one well

You can read more about them and see more photos of their gorgeous offerings on their Facebook page.

Their grand opening celebration is being held on the very auspicious date of 11.11.11. One Well is located at 165 Greenpoint Avenue (between Manhattan and Guiness), Brooklyn, NY.

Movember: Just the Facts, Man

An estimated 240,890 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2011. And, this year, it is expected that 33,720 men will die from it. Overall, men have a 1 in 6 lifetime risk of developing prostate cancer. Given that the estimated 2011 risk for breast cancer is 230,480 women, with an estimated 39,520 deaths and a 1 in 8 lifetime risk, it is shocking to me that there hasn’t been more of an effort to educate the public about the prevention and treatment of prostate cancer.*

Here are some more prostate cancer facts you might be interested in knowing:

  • It’s the most common cancer in men
  • It’s second most common cause of death from cancer among white, African American, American Indian/Alaska Native, and Hispanic men.
  • Black men are at the highest risk – twice that of white men who have the next highest risk
  • Prostate cancer has been increasing steadily in the US for the last several decades. Data from the National Cancer Institute’s Surveillance, Epidemiology and Results program (SEER) are adjusted to take into account the fact that the US population is gradually growing older, so this trend is not due to the aging of the population.
  • There are many potential causes for prostate cancer, such as genetic factors, which account for as much as 5-10%.
  • This leaves 90-95% unexplained. It appears that the great increase in prostate cancer during the second half of the 20th century is likely due to a change in environment and/or lifestyle. I will talk about the known risk factors next time.
Because this is a very serious issue, and much education needs to be done to raise awareness about prostate cancer and men’s health overall, I love the lighthearted approach that Movember takes. Movember is a mustache-growing charity event held annually throughout the month of November to raise funds and awareness for men’s health issues such as prostate cancer and depression. The gents at Movember have definitely met their goal of  creating an “innovative, fun and engaging annual Movember campaign that raises funds and awareness globally.” You can visit their photo gallery to take a peek at some of the fun, yet awe-inspiring, facial hair that participants have cultivated.

Anthony: Movember, Day 1

For the 3rd year in a row, Anthony Moriello is participating in Movember. When I asked him what motivated him to participate, Anthony responded, “I became involved with Movember because I find it to be a creative and effective way to raise awareness about men’s cancers and men’s health in general.  It’s gone viral and I’d bet that when people see mustaches this time of year they stop and think ‘Hmmm, it’s about time for a doctor’s visit.’  It also gives me a a great reason to grow a mustache that, as you will soon see, I have no business growing.”

As the face of Movember for my blog, I will post Anthony’s weekly progress photos as he goes from clean shaven to Mario Brother lookalike. You can support Anthony and his Movember team, the Wade Bogg All-Stars, by going to their Movember team page and making a donation. The funds raised by Movember go to some great organizations that promote true cancer prevention research, as well as screening, treatment and survivorship initiatives.

Age-Progression image of Anthony at Day 30

*Statistics from SEER (The National Cancer Institute’s Surveillance Epidemiology and End Results)