Dove Soap Label

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by cash3p @ 18th Street Soap Company

With a Friends and Family Home Group Coupon, get 15% off your online order and FREE delivery in the Omaha Metro/Council Bluffs area. Free delivery is provided by Friends & Family Home Group, Better Homes & Gardens, The Good Life Group. The Friends and Family Coupon will run through the end of … Read More

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New Spring Meadow and Vanilla Essence

by admin @ Kutol


Are Toxic Blobs of Palm Oil Poisoning Our Pets?

Are Toxic Blobs of Palm Oil Poisoning Our Pets?

by Becca Cudmore @ Slate Articles

It’s hard to know where it began. But one of the first recorded cases was in Cornwall, England, on the dog-friendly beach of Long Rock near the Strait of Dover. Coincidentally, this is also the busiest shipping lane in the world. It was October 2013 and the black-haired mini-schnauzer, Zanzi, was out for a walk with his owners. He had meandered away and soon, he was munching on something, owner Lucy Garrett-Peel told the local Cornishman paper days later. His snack was white and waxy and “all over the beach,” said Peel, who raced over to grab it that day. “It was really unpleasant and the smell was like nothing I have ever come across,” she said. It smelled a bit like diesel.

Minutes after gnawing then swallowing the gluey substance, Zanzi got distressed, Peel recalls. The material got caught, and her dog was having trouble breathing. Immediately, Peel rushed Zanzi to the nearest vet, Mounts Bay, where the dog had an on-the-spot emergency operation. Despite valiant efforts, Zanzi died that day. “Whatever it was got stuck in his stomach,” said Peel. “It was tested and found to be extremely rancid palm oil, containing some very nasty bacteria.”

Word of Zanzi’s oil-based death churned into the news cycle that year. It seemed that palm oil, a product many of us half-heartedly associate with rainforest destruction, had also killed a beloved pet. Following this case, other reports that the oil was sickening and killing dogs began to surface in internet news, most articles referring back to Zanzi himself. In 2014, the BBC reported: “Cornwall Palm Oil ‘Poisons a Dog a Day.’ ” There were many pups turning ill on the busy coastlines that year: Dave the lurcher-Staffie mutt died in Devon days after ingesting “toxic palm oil.” Three-year-old labradoodle Freddie later survived a series of emergency procedures after eating a “large lump of palm oil ... the size of a boulder” on Kingsand Beach. “We were absolutely panic-stricken when we realized what it was,” his owner told the Herald. “We looked online, and were worried we could lose him after seeing what had happened to other dogs—my husband rushed him to the vet straight away.”

Understandably, Zanzi’s death was spurring anxiety in owners up and down the coasts. To protect local pets, Cornwall Council and other governments cleared their beaches of the washed-ashore fats, posted “Be aware of palm oil” signs in their sand, and set up a government webpage as warning. When one palm blob weighing a quarter of a ton came ashore on Hampstead Beach in 2014, three locals towed out a trolley to cart it away.

But why, we should ask, was palm oil washing up along the Strait of Dover in the first place? This is a crop that is grown thousands of miles and landmasses away in Southeast Asia, Latin America, and, more recently, in parts of Africa. What was it doing in England? Most likely, this was beached residue that had been washed out of a chemical tanker’s cargo after the ship made a palm oil delivery to the U.K. Legally, ships are allowed to wash out their tanks, generally with a chemical cleaning solution, before they load on the next product—as long as they do so more than 12 miles from shore. In February 2012, the year before Zanzi died, the European Maritime Safety Agency used new satellite imaging technology to catch a chemical tanker sourced from Singapore cleaning leftover palm oil out of its tanks, leaving an incriminating greasy streak in its wake. The ship was close to Long Rock, where Zanzi began to choke on that mysterious white mass the following year, and it was also nearer than 12 miles from the edge of shore. Eventually, this tanker from Singapore was fined over £20,000 pounds for the violation.

It seems most likely then that what Zanzi ate on the beach in the fall of 2013 was also washed-out palm oil residue from a chemical tanker that had made a delivery of the product to the U.K. Given that European shipping traffic control has just recently acquired its detective technology to assess a ship’s distance to land and that ships continue to legally wash out oils and chemicals beyond that 12-mile mark, it is unclear if this particular chunk came from an illegal emission. Regardless, the harm that we think palm oil did to Zanzi and other dogs in Britain pales in comparison to the harm this product does thousands of miles away, in the tropics, where it is grown.

Palm oil, sourced from the reddish pulp of the African oil palm plant, Elaeis guineensis, is currently the most used vegetable oil on Earth, and it is found in just about every cosmetic and snack that you take off your cabinet or grocery store shelf. Increasingly, it is used as a biofuel and it is also found in most pet foods. As journalist Jocelyn Zuckerman recently described, it’s become one of our most “indispensable substances.” Our growing demand for this ingredient has also meant that palm oil is the leading cause of deforestation in places like Indonesia and in other equatorial countries once rich in tropical life. Appalling human labor rights issues have been documented in its production; the palm oil industry is among the most problematic of our time.

Thanks to nearly half a century’s worth of environmentalists’ work, “palm oil” seems to be lodged into our minds and our vocabulary. If you look at Google Trends, the database shows that while a search for something benign such as “mineral oil” in the U.K. stays steady over the years, the country now searches for “palm oil” about six times more often today than it did when tracking began, over a decade ago. The trends also show that most of these searches come from Brits who are wondering about the oil’s presence in their everyday products and that “sustainable palm oil” is currently a more popular search than “palm oil health.”

“Palm oil has entered public consciousness with this negative connotation,” said Tony Harwood, a Kent County Council pollution expert. He referenced the industry’s influence on the orangutan, the only great ape of Asia, as well as on the Malayan tapir and other wildlife. Since around the turn of the millennium, he says, we know that we’ve been losing up to 5,000 orangutans to deforestation each year. A lesser-known creature—the tapir, a black-and-white-patched mammal with similar body shape to a pig—once ranged throughout Southeast Asia, but, thanks partially to palm oil harvesting, it is known now to exist only as a series of isolated groups confined to Malaysia. In less than 40 years, the crested black macaque has declined here by over 80 percent. There are fewer than a hundred Sumatran rhinos. These populations are being squeezed into the remaining patches of habitat, and tensions with surrounding human communities are on the rise.

Palm oil, clearly, is destructive—it’s wiping out swaths of biodiversity, releasing its sequestered carbon into our atmosphere, and taking local human livelihoods. But, like so many complicated environmental issues, our interest in acting on this industry fails to match its effect at the global scale. While we might sign a petition and casually scan the label on the back of a wrapper, we lack the urgency and wherewithal to purge this ingredient from our lives, a task that would take an extreme input of our time and energy.

That said, when it begins to wash up on our shores and to kill our pets, we of course take better notice. Could the potential harm that palm oil posed to pets in Britain help launch a more serious effort to reduce our reliance on this substance across the globe?

If the connection were clear-cut, perhaps—and that seemed to be where this story was headed. But it’s become far from straightforward. Back at Mounts Bay, where Zanzi passed away, it turns out that there had strangely never been a confirmed dog death due to palm oil. In fact, despite the killing-a-dog-a-day statistic, not one of the canine deaths has been proven to be the result of this ingredient. I learned this over a hurried call in the winter when I had been hoping to verify with the vet that palm oil was definitely the cause of the mini-schnauzer’s distress and death three years ago. I, a nosy journalist with an assumedly quick story to write, received just a spew of words before our call was clicked to a close. “No, we didn’t know what it was,” he said. “That was the whole point.” It wasn’t annoyance in his voice but something closer to discomfort.

Looking back to the original Cornishman article that announced Zanzi’s death, I noticed the reporter had written that the “deadly palm oil” was identified by a national agency, Public Health England. But in email exchange with that agency’s Andrew Tristem, I was told that Zanzi’s case was actually not in Public Health’s hands but in those of the Maritime Coastguard’s. That agency’s press officer then responded that, no, they did not analyze the substance, and while Zanzi’s death did coincide with reports of palm oil awash in Cornwall, there had never been proof or cause to believe that palm oil itself was responsible for the dog’s death.

Even though the exact mechanism by which palm oil may have caused Zanzi’s death was tough to discern, there are several possibilities. As with anything that washes onto these shores, the British Veterinary Poisons Information Service’s president later told me, palm oil would experience a gradient of temperatures and substrates after being cleaned from a ship’s cargo tank. It would ride in the salty, polluted sea, then up to the beach. Depending on the season, it would be warmed in the sun, “making it an ideal habitat for bacteria harmful to dogs to grow,” he said. (Most human bacteria multiply quickest at body temperature, in moist environments, and many call the popular coasts of the U.K. home.) Consuming a gluelike blob of anything caked in sand and coastal debris is a good opportunity for an animal to choke, and potentially, to die. But if this blob scoots all the way down through digestion, this still is not good because what is being consumed can also be quite poisonous. Blend oil residue with cleaning chemicals, coast bacteria, and diesel pollution from the busiest shipping lane in the world, and the result is a dog bone from hell. The Poisons Information Service looked into how 30 surviving dogs who had eaten various “palm oil blobs” on different U.K. beaches reacted to the substance. While many had showed no symptoms, one dog did suffer a mild cough that lasted 3 days, and another recovered from aspiration pneumonia after 7 days. Eleven experienced some vomiting, which was the most common side effect, and a handful of them also had diarrhea. Both are symptoms of petroleum poisoning in dogs. (It also seemed possible for a pet to pass several days after eating the beached blob, such as Dave in Devon in 2014, from fat-induced pancreatitis.)

All told, palm oil is certainly a hazard. The story has since snowballed to include headlines such as, “Dogs Dying From Sniffing Palm Oil” and the “26-Year-Old Killer Shipwreck Responsible for Toxic Palm Oil” that cite the tropical ingredient as cause of death and illness. In fact, just about everything that is semi-solid and white and washing up on shore instantly absorbs the “killer palm oil” identity. This includes beached housing debris, washed-up waxes, and this winter’s story that featured a top photo of a dog staring at what is not a man-made substance at all but the translucent cap of a jellyfish. “Everybody calls everything that’s a fatty substance ‘palm oil’ these days,” said Thanet Council foreshore officer Jean Reynolds. “It’s just a word that’s used for things that wash ashore—it doesn’t mean anything.”

As the following Sun headline might demonstrate, it’s as if this story has become a parody of itself.

Fatberg is a term used colloquially in the U.K. to define congealed lumps of disposed food fats, cottons, and wet wipes that form “a nasty solid mess” in city pipes, according to the Guardian. It has become a serious issue over on that side of the pond: After flat residents in London complained of not being able to flush their toilets a few years back, one berg weighing the equivalent of two African elephants was dislodged from under the city. It had reduced local sewage to 5 percent of normal capacity. The Sun article above states that it was also one of these pipe fatbergs that blew “thousands of miles across the Atlantic” from “rum punch islands” of the Caribbean during a harsh winter storm, almost killing one curious retriever who ate it on Kent’s Blightly Beach. While palm oil is a tropical island crop, often grown in Latin America, the rushed reporter seems to have merged the regional “fatberg” phenomena with the “deadly palm oil” anxiety of the news. Of course, palm oil is being dumped and delivered all along her home coasts, manufactured into her products, and being sent down her drains every day. So this specific lump of fat at Blightly likely did contain palm oil, even if it didn’t drift from the tropics all on its own.

But now that the palm oil issue has fully merged with Britain’s fatberg problem, environmentalists are backing away. One source who dutifully gathers garbage off the north Cornish coast each morning and who was at first glad to provide background on the local events became hesitant and eventually refused to be quoted. Being attached to this tabloid-type tale, she told me, could disintegrate the repute of her real environmental work cleaning the beach trash. She said that it would risk her seeming kind of “silly.”

This separation is a shame. Perhaps palm oil’s role in the British pet deaths could have been a rallying cry to launch an actual campaign forcing companies to stop sourcing this stuff from far away, reducing harm for people and animals at both ends of its supply chain. Unfortunately, once word of Zanzi’s death was launched into the free waves of the internet, it kicked up too much of the muck.

The British Veterinary Poisons Information Service still considers “palm oil ingestion” an “emerging issue” for canine health. We still pack our products full of an ingredient that displaces life in the tropics. We ship the oil over our seas; it gets washed into our ocean water and dumped down our drains. It clogs up the pipes. When blended with the right toxic cocktail, it poisons our pets. We can see the harm, but we can’t seem to find the right way to flush it out.

Some People Still Need Opioids

Some People Still Need Opioids

by Stefan Kertesz @ Slate Articles

On July 26, Todd Graham, 56, a well-respected rehabilitation specialist in Mishawaka, Indiana, lost his life. Earlier that day, a woman complaining of chronic pain had come to Graham’s office in hope of receiving an opioid such as Percocet, Vicodin, or long-acting OxyContin. He reportedly told her that opioids were not an appropriate first-line treatment for long-term pain—a view now shared by professionals—and she, reportedly, accepted his opinion. Her husband, however, became irate. Later, he tracked down the doctor and shot him twice in the head.

This horrific story has been showcased to confirm that physicians who specialize in chronic pain confront real threats from patients or their loved ones, particularly regarding opioid prescriptions. But Graham’s death also draws attention to another fraught development: In the face of an ever-worsening opioid crisis, physicians concerned about fueling the epidemic are increasingly heeding warnings and feeling pressured to constrain prescribing in the name of public health. As they do so, abruptly ending treatment regimens on which many chronic pain patients have come to rely, they end up leaving some patients in agonizing pain or worse.

Last month, one of us was contacted by a 66-year old orthopedic surgeon in Northern California, desperate to find a doctor for herself. Since her early 30s, Dr. R suffered from an excruciating condition called Interstitial Cystitis (IC). She described it as a “feeling like I had a lit match in my bladder and urethra.” Her doctor placed her on methadone and she continued in her medical practice on a relatively low dose, for 34 years. As Dr. R told one of us, “Methadone has saved my life. Not to sound irrational, but I don't think I would have survived without it.” Then a crisis: “Unfortunately for me, the feds are clamping down on docs prescribing opiates. My doctor decided that she did not want to treat me anymore, didn't give me a last prescription, and didn’t wait until I found another pain doctor who would help me.” For the past 30 years, Dr. R has been an advocate for better treatment of IC and reports “many suicides in the IC patient population due to the severity of the pain.”

Thankfully, Dr. R found someone to treat her. Doug Hale, 53, of Vermont was less fortunate. On Oct. 11, 2016, he died by suicide.

"My husband Doug took his own life after being cut off abruptly from his long-term therapy for intractable chronic pain,” his wife, Tammi, wrote in a survey collected by a rehabilitation scholar. His pain was caused by interstitial cystitis, severe migraines, and a back condition. A doctor had prescribed methadone and oxycodone since 2001, according to Tammi Hale, but then “said he would not risk his [medical] license.” Her husband “lasted six weeks, all the while desperately searching for help” but he made a conscious choice not to pursue alcohol or illegal drugs. He said he wanted to live to see his grandchildren and to grow old with me, his wife wrote, “but the pain drove him to suicide as he could not bear a life of intractable pain.”

So, he waited until his wife was out running errands, went to the far end of their backyard, and shot himself. Doug Hale left a suicide note stating that no one but his wife had helped him and that “the doctors were all puppets who basically just wanted to cover their own backs well.”

In 2016, a physician wrote a searing personal account of losing his sister, a chronic pain patient, in the Journal of the American Medical Association. William Weeks of Dartmouth Geisel School of Medicine, described Hailey’s death. A “caring, devoted, and motivated woman,” Haley injured her back at 35 when she was thrown from a horse. Her back never got better, and she qualified for federal disability payments. Over 14 years she received opioids and sedatives from a single pain physician, reaching high doses of both. When illness struck her physician, he retired, leaving her with a one-month prescription and a list of doctors.

As Weeks wrote, “My sister made appointments with several of the physicians [but at] every appointment, she was told that the physician would be unwilling to prescribe her current medication regimen. At every appointment, she was told that she would need to dramatically reduce her use of opioids and benzodiazepines. At every appointment, she felt that the medical establishment, which had prescribed these medications for a decade and a half, had abandoned her. Having not found a physician to manage her medications, she tried to wean herself, if only to extend her medication supply.” She accelerated her alcohol use, wound up in an emergency room—and then a jail cell where she died, six weeks after her last prescription.

Finally there is the anguished report from Mark Ibsen, a doctor based in Montana. On Aug. 4, he posted a video of himself with a distraught patient. “This patient is suicidal due to sudden severe cuts in her medications,” reads the tagline. Ibsen, who is currently entwined in a legal battle over his own practice of prescribing opioids to people with chronic pain, explains the urgency:

This is Kirsten. She’s here for a cannabis card. And we’re going to approve her. She has been on chronic pain medication. And the reason I want to show you this is that she can’t move her neck. She is operating stiffly. She lost all her muscles in her neck, when she had hardware placed by a doctor and it got infected, and she has had chronic pain since then. She has been on opiates for 11+ years. She is suddenly weaning, due to her doctor’s insistence. Just see your scar back here. That’s her scar. And this lady is in agony… She is on a third of her morphine and a third of her oxycodone. She is suicidal. And she has been abandoned by the medical profession. … And we just talked about how if she were an animal, we would euthanize her for this kind of suffering... So I am sending out a plea. I don’t know what I am pleading for, except this lady is suicidal, and this is a preventable suicide. If she could get her opiates, she wouldn’t be trying to kill herself. …This is a crime scene… as this lady deteriorates and gets more and more suicidal. Senator Tester can you help us?

The ordeals of Dr. R, Doug Hale, Hailey Weeks, and Kristin are being replicated across the country. Every week, one of us receives notice of suicides and overdoses by patients across the country who are distraught in the wake of having their dosages reduced. Eighteen months ago, Kertesz cared for a patient who had shot himself in the hand in the parking lot of a local hospital after his primary care doctor stopped maintaining even stable patients on opioids. That doctor had bought into a fallacy that’s been circulating medical practices: that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said all prescribing should stop.

It is no secret that one contributing factor to the current opioid crisis is the overreliance on and, at least in retrospect, irresponsible use of opioid-based pain medication. Promiscuous prescribing by physicians gained momentum in the early 1990s and continued for much of the next decade. Aggressive marketing by makers of long-acting painkillers, along with unfounded reassurances that they were safe, played a role in the explosion of prescribing—as did the culture of medical practice which rewarded hospitals based on patient satisfaction ratings, hurried visits, and a dearth of ready insurance-covered alternatives.

It should be noted that the chief risk of liberal prescribing—that is, giving a month’s worth of pills when two days were needed; prescribing opioids when extra-strength aspirin and a heating pad would do—was not so much that the patient for whom painkillers would become addicted or overdose. That can happen, particularly when the patient is also depressed, chronically anxious, or has a history of substance abuse, but it is not especially common: “Rates of carefully diagnosed addiction have averaged less than 8 percent [of patients receiving prescriptions] in published studies,” a 2016 review in the New England Journal of Medicine found. Others offer figures of 0.7 percent to 6 percent, a figure cited by the CDC itself. While those figures are high enough to merit a serious doctor-patient conversation, the bigger danger has always been that excess medication was feeding the rivers of pills coursing through many neighborhoods, and that as more painkillers circulated, more opportunities arose for nonpatients to obtain them, abuse them, and die.

As the pill problem has grown, physicians, medical centers, and state health authorities sought to bring prescribing under better control with education, new norms, and prescription registries that pharmacists and doctors could use to detect patients who “doctor shopped” for painkillers and even forged prescriptions. To a welcome degree, this worked: Since 2010, when opioid prescribing peaked, painkiller-related overdose deaths have begun to decline. (Now, heroin and illicit fentanyl are responsible for most opioid-related deaths.) Seventeen states have passed laws or regulations that limit doses or duration for acute pain, and several federal bills are under consideration. Last year, the American Medical Association recommended that pain be removed as a “fifth vital sign” in professional medical standards, another attempt to limit the overprescribing of opioid pain medication.

The pendulum has swung back in the other direction. We are now experiencing the painful backlash to overzealous prescribing of opioid painkillers (that was itself a backlash to the undertreatment of unremitting noncancer pain). The bad news is that many patients treated with high opioid regimens have been caught in the crossfire. Amid regulations, pharmacy payment restrictions, and intimations that doctors are the major culprits in this epidemic, doctors are increasingly sensing pressure to reduce doses, even among patients who are benefiting from the medication and using it responsibly.

On Oct. 1, for example, Colorado’s Medicaid requirement on dose-lowering goes into effect. It requires physicians to reduce the number of painkillers already being prescribed to patients with chronic pain to a one-size-fits-all threshold. Exception clauses do exist but given the notorious inefficiency of state bureaucracy and the priming of physician anxiety lest they not act, more needless suffering may well be an unintended fallout.

What’s more, there is no consensus among physicians on the proper role of opioids in the management of chronic pain. There is a “civil war” between clinicians who treat pain, according to Daniel B. Carr, president of the American Academy of Pain Medicine. “One group believes the primary goal of pain treatment is curtailing opioid prescribing,” he explained. “The other group looks at the disability, the human suffering, and the expense of chronic pain.”

The debate would recede if only there were reliable data to guide physicians. But the wisdom of involuntary reduction is not backed by evidence, according to a recent review in the Annals of Internal Medicine titled “Patient Outcome in Dose Reduction or Discontinuation in Long Term Opioid Therapy.” Comprehensive longitudinal data regarding opioids’ benefits in chronic pain patients is mostly lacking, as is the case for nearly all alternatives.

The 2016 Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain from the CDC was introduced to provide general principles for how to treat people with chronic pain. It does not endorse mandated reduction. Instead the guideline indicates, correctly, that opioids should rarely be a first option for chronic pain. Indeed, some patients now on chronic treatment might have been successfully directed toward alternative remedies, such as physical therapy, anti-convulsant drugs, localized injections, or electrical stimulation when they first became ill, diverting them from opioids in the first place.

The guideline also recommends that doctors carefully weigh the risks and benefits of maintaining the current doses of opioids in patients already on them. This means, to us, that

doctors should discuss reductions with patients on long-term opioids, offer other options, and proceed with very slow tapering if the patient is interested. It turns out, in fact, that some patients welcome the chance to reduce the dose and even feel more alert once this is done. Nonetheless, there exists a contingent for whom only opioids work and who seem to benefit at a stable dose.

We seem to have come, in a tragic way, full circle. Doctors, in particular, have been open in acknowledging their role in the opioid crisis and are trying to balance appropriate prescribing with a duty to treat pain in an effective and compassionate way. Their challenge today is the mirror image of the balancing act they tried to perform back in the 1990s, when efforts to compensate undertreatment of pain gained momentum and led to overcorrection.

Everyone is trying to do the right thing, but the system sometimes fails patients who need opioids to manage chronic pain. As physicians negotiate this uneasy terrain, they need more data, less ideology—no matter how well-intentioned—and a case-by-case mentality. Until then, the clinical anecdotes that are accumulating should serve as powerful cautionary tales.

Watch the Trailer for ‘Last Days of JKWON,’ Green Label’s New Skate Documentary

Watch the Trailer for ‘Last Days of JKWON,’ Green Label’s New Skate Documentary

by Bella Jay @ Green Label

Skaters know no boundaries.

Soap factory staves off a trip to the cleaners

Soap factory staves off a trip to the cleaners


One day in 2005, nearly half the business of the last major soap factory in Los Angeles suddenly went down the drain.Shugar Soapworks Inc. made private-label soaps for hotels and retailers at its...

A New Strategy to Undermine Big Pharma’s Price Gouging Actually Worked

A New Strategy to Undermine Big Pharma’s Price Gouging Actually Worked

by Daisy Hernández @ Slate Articles

Last week, the Food and Drug Administration announced its approval of the drug benznidazole, which is used to treat a parasitic disease that afflicts about 300,000 Americans and that, left untreated, can lead to heart failure. It sounds like a routine case of government agencies doing routine work—a relief during the Trump administration. For once, there’s good news.

But it is not as simple as it looks. This is actually a story of how advocates and physicians squared off against Big Pharma’s price gouging and federal policy loopholes—and won. Everyone who has to shell out hundreds of dollars right now for an EpiPen should be asking: How did they do it?

Benznidazole is used to treat Chagas, or the “kissing bug” disease, as it’s been nicknamed, since the insect that passes along the vicious parasite often bites near the face. Similar to the Zika virus, Chagas is mainly found in Latin America, where the so-called kissing bugs are prevalent. It is also transmitted here in the South with less frequency, though recently epidemiologists at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston have been finding that in some areas of Texas about half of the local kissing bugs are infected with the Chagas-causing parasite Trypanosoma cruzi. The disease can also be passed from mother to child during pregnancy, and often, even those who are infected don’t know they have it. A mother I’ll call Julia, to protect her privacy, was shocked when her premature baby, who weighed less than four pounds, was diagnosed with Chagas disease. She was more shocked to learn that she too was infected. “I didn’t know I could give it to my baby,” Julia told me.

Unlike Zika, Chagas already afflicts hundreds of thousands of Americans. Decades after being infected, which often goes unrecognized, 1 in 3 people will develop signs of heart failure. They will have irregular heartbeats, and the walls of their hearts will thin. They will need defibrillators, even heart transplants. Some Chagas patients die suddenly when their hearts can’t pump anymore. In the Western Hemisphere, the cost that the disease exacts in lives and disability makes the burden of Chagas eight times higher than that of malaria. And also unlike Zika, which currently has no easy remedy, babies and young children diagnosed with the kissing bug disease can be cured with a 60-day treatment of benznidazole.  (The drug disrupts the parasite’s capacity to reproduce in the child’s bloodstream and affected tissue.)

Benznidazole has been around since the late 1970s, but it lacked FDA approval. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had been dispensing the drug to doctors for compassionate treatment, but Harvard researchers found that between 2007 and 2013, the agency only released 422 doses of both benznidazole and a second drug (that patients often don’t tolerate as well).

The only way to spur FDA approval for benznidazole, however, was for a pharmaceutical company to apply to register the drug. Chagas, like many neglected tropical diseases, disproportionately afflicts poor people so companies didn’t have a reason to bring a life-saving medication to the FDA for approval—it wouldn’t have paid off for them.

At least, it didn’t until 2015 when notorious pharma bro Martin Shkreli realized that the kissing bug disease had been added to a coveted list of neglected and rare conditions. The federal government uses the list to incentivize pharmaceutical companies. In exchange for bringing a neglected and rare disease remedy to the market, a company gets a “priority review voucher” that allows it to fast-track another drug application or to sell that voucher to other companies. The value of the voucher? Anywhere between $125 million and $350 million. (Critics of the program have argued that companies are able to make a huge profit without having to invest in new research or make promises about drug affordability.)

With its inclusion on that federal list in 2015, Chagas became a cash cow in the pharma world, and Shkreli took notice. Not only did he want the voucher, but he boasted to investors that he’d price benznidazole at close to $100,000 a course treatment. In Latin America, the drug can be purchased for between $60 and $100.

What Shkreli didn’t count on were the people—physicians and advocates—who would be outraged over his tactics.

One such physician was Los Angeles cardiologist Sheba Meymandi, who runs the only clinic for Chagas patients in the United States at the Olive View–UCLA Medical Center. For a decade now, Meymandi and her volunteers have shown up at health fairs around L.A. County, screening people and finding that about 30,000 women and men in the county are infected with Chagas disease. Meymandi sounded the alarms over Shkreli’s tactics in 2015 to the New York Times, explaining that pricing the drug as Shkreli intended would have been devastating for the patients that needed it.

Just as shocked over Shkreli’s intentions was the staff at Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative. A nonprofit started in 2003 by physicians from Doctors Without Borders and its partners, DNDI has teamed up with pharmaceutical companies to bring seven drugs to the market for neglected diseases at low prices. In Latin America, the organization had worked with a Brazilian laboratory to manufacture a formulation of benznidazole for children infected with the kissing bug disease.

As soon as DNDI staffers heard about Shkreli’s plans, they went into action to try to prevent the price gouging from happening. The pharmaceutical company Chemo Group had been trying to register the drug with the FDA before the disease was even tied to the voucher. (The company’s Argentinian owners also run the Mundo Sano Foundation that was started in the 1990s to combat Chagas disease.) DNDI signed an agreement with Mundo Sano. The nonprofit would provide research data while the foundation committed to putting half of any voucher profits toward programs that diagnose and treat people with Chagas. It would also produce benznidazole on a “no profit no loss” basis—meaning it would charge at or below cost to produce the drug, but no more. It was a unique agreement that accomplished many things—bringing the drug to market, capping the price, and increasing screening.

The plan fills in some gaps that the scholars who created the priority review voucher program 10 years ago have said they now want to incorporate in the voucher system, including requirements on how patients obtain the medications. “We agree that there should be an access requirement and that may just be a plan that the sponsor provides to the FDA,” said Jeffrey L. Moe, a professor with Duke University’s Global Health Institute, and one of the creators of the voucher program.

The FDA’s approval of benznidazole is for use in children, but doctors will also be able to prescribe it off-label for adults. For physicians and researchers, the worry is still about screening patients and educating American doctors who know about the Zika virus but not the more prevalent Chagas disease. “People are not just going to start screening and treating because benznidazole is approved,” said Jennifer Manne-Goehler, a clinical fellow at Harvard Medical School. The next hurdle, she said, will be how easily doctors can access the drug through local pharmacies and also how health care workers reach patients who might not even know they are infected.

And the war against price gouging and federal loopholes is also not over, of course. Shkreli was only the poster boy for a pharmaceutical industry gone astray. He was never the actual problem. Price hikes continue to devastate families and their doctors. The voucher system remains open for use by companies that have no obligation to commit to affordability or investment in screening, treatment, or research. Just as troubling, this summer, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services proposed scaling back reimbursements for medications to hospitals that treat low-income patients.

But if the benznidazole story offers any lessons, it’s that partnerships between nonprofits and pharmaceutical companies might be a legitimate and necessary strategy for keeping drugs affordable in the United States. This requires a lot more collaboration, among patients, doctors, and public health advocates. But until lawmakers get their act together, these private-public partnerships might be one way forward.

Bramble Berry’s Creative Journey

by Anne-Marie Faiola @ Soap Queen

Bramble Berry has humble beginnings. Soapmaking has been a creative outlet for CEO and Founder Anne-Marie since she was 16. After an unsuccessful career as a correctional officer, she decided to turn that outlet into a business. Our first warehouse was only 400 square feet, and we sold melt and pour soap, five fragrances, and a few […]

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(not sure what thread to label this as.) Chicken Bathing.

(not sure what thread to label this as.) Chicken Bathing.

BackYard Chickens

I have recently bought a White Rooster, he's a handsome guy, nice white and yellow feathers with a few dots of black. What shampoo or whatever should...

DIY Unicorn Sugar Scrub

by Heidi @ Happiness is Homemade

Whip up a batch of DIY Unicorn Sugar Scrub in under 10 minutes with this quick and easy sugar scrub recipe!  An awesome DIY homemade gift idea for friends, family, teachers, and more! I love making my own homemade soaps, sugar scrubs, and body products, and this week I whipped up a batch of DIY […]

The post DIY Unicorn Sugar Scrub appeared first on Happiness is Homemade.

Products Containing Triclosan

Products Containing Triclosan

Beyond Pesticides

DISCLAIMER: Due to public pressure, many major manufacturers have quietly begun reformulating their products without...

Fresh & Clean: 50 Years of Soap

Fresh & Clean: 50 Years of Soap


From bar soaps to bath gels and beyond.

Ask Umbra: Is it OK to lather up in the lake with biodegradable soap?

Ask Umbra: Is it OK to lather up in the lake with biodegradable soap?


A reader thinks he’s found the perfect suds for outdoor scrubbing. Umbra says bubbles belong in the bath.

Custom Soap | 18th Street Soap Company

Custom Soap | 18th Street Soap Company

18th Street Soap Company

Relator Closing Gifts? Corporate Gift Giving? Family Reunions? Fundraising? Wedding Receptions? Let us create custom soap for your special occasion.

Trusting the Ingredients in Your Farm-Made Soap - Natural Health - MOTHER EARTH NEWS

Trusting the Ingredients in Your Farm-Made Soap - Natural Health - MOTHER EARTH NEWS

Mother Earth News

Here are the ingredients listed on the Dove Brand label, with a comparison to the ingredients in our Goat’s Milk Soap. The definitions and explanations for the ingredients were taken from the Environmental Working Group's Skin Deep website. No interpretations or judgements were added.

Dove Soap TV Commercial, 'Pink Test Paper'

Dove Soap TV Commercial, 'Pink Test Paper'

Other soaps weaken the proteins in your skin. Dove is different, because it has one quarter moisturizing cream and mild cleansers. It helps your skin maintain its natural moisture.

DIY Bourbon & Beeswax Candles

by Anne-Marie Faiola @ Soap Queen

Candles are particularly comforting during the fall and winter. This Bourbon & Beeswax Candle is the perfect addition to your home for autumn and beyond. It’s made with the new Kentucky Bourbon Fragrance Oil, which features notes of spicy clove, leather and oak cask. The Kentucky Bourbon Fragrance Oil is part of our limited edition Cocktail Fragrance Oil […]

The post DIY Bourbon & Beeswax Candles appeared first on Soap Queen.

The Best Dish Soap

The Best Dish Soap

The Sweethome

After more than 65 hours of research and testing 28 detergents, we found Seventh Generation Dish Liquid to be the best for most people.

Amethyst Crystal Soap Tutorial

by Amanda @ Soap Queen

Happy Friday, everybody! This is Lane (aka Mama Bass) from Mama Bass Handmade Soap, and I am going to teach you how to make Amethyst Crystal Soap Points out of clear melt and pour soap. I’m very excited to be given this opportunity to test out Bramble Berry’s new Amethyst Fragrance Oil and even create something […]

The post Amethyst Crystal Soap Tutorial appeared first on Soap Queen.

Kutol Introduces Foaming Ultra Green Hand Soap

by admin @ Kutol


Unilever's game-changing decision to reveal fragrance ingredients

Unilever's game-changing decision to reveal fragrance ingredients


Listing of specific ingredients under the mysterious "fragrance" catch-all has never been required by the government; Unilever's voluntary move to list them is a big deal.

Sai, Nashik - Distributor / Channel Partner of

Sai, Nashik - Distributor / Channel Partner of

Red Label Tea, Dove Soap & Colgate Toothpaste Distributor / Channel Partner offered by Sai from Nashik, Maharashtra, India

DIY Crystal Bath Bombs

by Anne-Marie Faiola @ Soap Queen

The colors and textures of crystals provide endless inspiration. These Crystal Bath Bombs were created with geodes in mind. Fine grained Dead Sea Salt gives a crystal-like texture to each bath bomb. Then, various colors of mica are painted on the salt to give depth and interest. Deodorized cocoa butter is added to the bath bomb mixture […]

The post DIY Crystal Bath Bombs appeared first on Soap Queen.

Dove Shea Butter Beauty Bars Soap, 6 count -

Dove Shea Butter Beauty Bars Soap, 6 count -

Buy Dove Shea Butter Beauty Bars Soap, 6 count at

Trump Hates Regulations. What About When They Save Jobs?

Trump Hates Regulations. What About When They Save Jobs?

by Lee van der Voo @ Slate Articles

This article was written in partnership with InvestigateWest, the nonprofit newsroom for the Pacific Northwest.

President Trump likes lobster, I hear—Maine lobster was served at his inaugural lunch.

It’s a good thing, perhaps. Though his administration is already notorious for its anti-regulatory stance that takes as its premise that fewer rules will mean more jobs, it’s also going to have to decide whether a lack of regulation in the seafood industry will keep sending American jobs overseas.

The choice in question is over a rule governing seafood imports that was authorized in the waning days of the Obama administration as part of a national battle plan to fight the influx of illegally caught seafood. The rule forces importers to verify that the seafood they buy is caught legally and to trace its journey from boat to market. It’s intended to combat the immense amount of illegal seafood that’s believed to be finding its way to U.S. markets, much of it mislabeled for consumers.

If it stays, the rule will force seafood importers to follow the same rules American seafood companies have to follow to track where domestic seafood products come from and to prove that they’re legally caught, hypothetically evening the playing field. You’d think such pressure on foreign imports would have U.S. companies cheering. After all, many Americans spent the most recent election season pumping their fists in favor of a DIY nation. But a handful of American seafood companies are suing the federal government to block the rule.

These businesses are not just importers. They also buy seafood from American fishermen. But they’re fighting the rule because it would force them to disclose a practice many consumers are unaware of: that they ship U.S. seafood overseas for processing, mostly to mainland China, even though there is little oversight of the practice and it likely allows illegally caught fish to be co-mingled with our national fare.

The simple reason for overseas processing is that it’s cheaper. “There is obviously a cost savings in doing the work overseas than doing it here, and it allows for a more affordable end product,” said Gavin Gibbons, spokesman for National Fisheries Institute, the trade group for seafood businesses that, along with eight other companies, is suing the government.

Held to the rule’s new standards, the seafood companies that ship U.S. fish to fillet factories in China and elsewhere would have to account for its handling in ways that could explode their costs. Gibbons says those costs were first projected to jump by less than $250,000 a year industrywide. But the White House Office of Management and Budget recently revised that figure to roughly $6 million a year. And Gibbons and other industry experts suspect the true costs are actually much higher.

“Absolutely, it would increase their costs. And it should,” said Bubba Cook, the New Zealand–based tuna program manager from the World Wildlife Fund. Aside from the rationale that workers who process seafood should earn fair wages, he said, “That’s the cost that they need to bear so that the public can be confident that they’re not buying illegal [seafood].”

Gibbons counters that current regulations already provide enough documentation for people to know whether seafood is illegally caught and that adding this new rule is like putting a stop sign on top of another stop sign when what you really need is a traffic cop. But ask an actual seafood cop and you get a different answer. That new information that the new rule would require be added? “That helps,” said Mike Cenci, deputy chief of fish and wildlife police in Washington state. Which is why Cenci helped to author similar legislation in Washington to combat an immense amount of suspected illegal crab from Russia. And why a Seattle trade group for crabbers—who lost an estimated $550 million to illegal Russian crab over the past decade—petitioned and won standing in the federal case. “If this is a terrible law federally, then why are states enacting it on their own?” says the Alaska Bering Sea Crabbers president Kale Garcia.

It’s this dynamic that creates a political challenge to President Trump’s campaign promises. If he supports corporations in this instance, and takes an anti-regulatory stance, it would severely undercut business for working crabbers and fishermen. It would also rob American workers of the possible return of seafood processing jobs, jobs that have declined by more than a third in the past 20 years. That decline came as the practice of filleting, canning, packaging, and otherwise finishing U.S. seafood overseas became more commonplace. There’s been a simultaneous general decline in domestic catch, and together this has shuttered nearly half of U.S. seafood plants in two decades.

That wasn’t the chief reason the Obama administration passed the new rule in December. That administration was mainly focused on the wider goal of limiting illegal seafood demand globally. Currently, American consumers are believed to unwittingly constitute one of the largest illegal seafood markets in the world—the U.S. imports 90 percent of the seafood consumed here. In the European Union, where a similar rule has been in place for five years, seafood mislabeling rates have dropped from an estimated 30 percent to 5 percent of products. Because the EU and America combined account for two-thirds of all seafood consumed worldwide, there’s hope that if all that seafood had to be tracked, it might exert enough pressure to reduce the worldwide appetite for illegal seafood.

This could have vast positive implications: The U.N. estimates that illegal, unregulated, and unmonitored seafood costs legitimate businesses like the crabbers up to $23 billion a year globally, in addition to imperiling fish populations worldwide and putting workers in the way of an industry that’s often tethered to slavery and human trafficking. (The nonprofit Oceana has also found that 1 in 3 fish tested were masquerading as more popular species in U.S. grocery stores and restaurants in a study in 2013. The conservation group suggests rules like the new import rule could also reduce seafood mislabeling for American consumers.)

So far, the Trump administration has been defending the rule against the businesses’ lawsuit. Government attorneys appeared in court June 7 on behalf of the United States to argue for keeping it. And staff tasked with implementing it at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration are working to do so before a compliance deadline for tracking the first 15 species hits companies at the end of this year.

Yet it’s not entirely clear whether these efforts are underway because the new administration supports workers over corporate savings or wants to help end illegal seafood. Maybe Trump’s advisers are finally articulating what “making America great again” looks like now that it’s jumped the campaign T-shirts for the policy arena. Maybe the Trump administration simply hasn’t given it much thought and is allowing business to continue as usual: The people that are active in this issue are holdovers from the Obama days. At a time where political leadership and appointees have been slow to take hold, there is no new national fisheries administrator yet, or an assistant, to steward the direction of this situation. And there’s no real clarity as to whether the fight for this rule is truly an aim of the administration, or just an oversight amid all the other hubbub currently swirling around the White House.

The administration could still settle this lawsuit, and put an end to the new tracking rule. But if it does, it’s sure to get some feedback from American workers who support this regulation because it protects their livelihoods.

Sparkling Fig Melt & Pour Soap Tutorial

by Anne-Marie Faiola @ Soap Queen

Here in Bellingham, WA, almost every restaurant has a specialty cocktail. Many of the drinks feature house-infused liquor and funky combinations like thyme and peach puree. The interesting combination of flavors, colors, and textures in artisan cocktails inspired this melt and pour project. It’s made with Sparkling Fig Cocktail Fragrance Oil, which is a fruity yet […]

The post Sparkling Fig Melt & Pour Soap Tutorial appeared first on Soap Queen.

Homemade Laundry Detergent

Homemade Laundry Detergent

Simply Designing with Ashley

Homemade Laundry Detergent is so simple to make with just 3 ingredients! It is eco-friendly, does not contain chemicals and works great on your clothes!

Museum of the Fur Trade

by cash3p @ 18th Street Soap Company

We are so happy to announce that the Museum of the Fur Trade is now carrying 18th Street Soaps and is soon to be the exclusive carrier of our new Yucca Root Soap. Hope and I recently traveled across our wonderful state to visit with the nice folks at the Museum of … Read More

The post Museum of the Fur Trade appeared first on 18th Street Soap Company.

Retailers are making big bets that brands as we know them are dying

Retailers are making big bets that brands as we know them are dying

Business Insider

In the future, brand labels won't matter as much as quality and value.

No, But Seriously, Dove Soap Is Bad

No, But Seriously, Dove Soap Is Bad

The Concourse

So yesterday, BuzzFeed's editors, in a super duper blatant breach of the tenets of their Editorial Standards And Ethics Guide, deleted a post in which staff writer Arabelle Sicardi criticized toiletries brand Dove for its sleazy, exploitative advertising. Dove, you see, is owned by Unilever—the multinational consumer goods behemoth last seen being an oversensitive penis over the definition of mayonnaise—which happens to be one of BuzzFeed's major advertising partners.

Hubble, The Dog Behind The Soap

by cash3p @ 18th Street Soap Company

Named after Hubble’s Law, Hubble the Dog expanded, like the universe, into every aspect of our lives. A goofy, crossbreed Lab, Hubble is known around Lincoln, Nebraska. At 4 months, Hubble walked into the Capital Humane Society’s visitor room and sat in front of his unsuspecting future human. Hubble had spoken. Of … Read More

The post Hubble, The Dog Behind The Soap appeared first on 18th Street Soap Company.

Rose Quartz Melt & Pour Soap Tutorial

by Anne-Marie Faiola @ Soap Queen

Rose quartz is known as the Heart Stone and is thought to inspire imagination and love. Harness that energy with these Rose Quartz Melt and Pour Soaps. They feature a soft pink hue with swirls of white to emulate the real stone. They are scented with Rose Quartz Fragrance Oil, which is a fresh and citrusy spin on a rose scent. The soaps couldn’t be easier […]

The post Rose Quartz Melt & Pour Soap Tutorial appeared first on Soap Queen.

Now Available at Savannah Filmore

by cash3p @ 18th Street Soap Company

You can now find 18th Street Soap in Council Bluffs! Stop in Savannah Filmore Gifts and Home Decor and say hello to Diane. She has a beautiful store with unique and beautiful gifts. Live Graciously, Love Greatly!   Savannah Filmore is located at: 19257 Conifer Lane Council Bluffs, IA 51503

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DIY Crystal Soap Gift Set (with printable!)

by Anne-Marie Faiola @ Soap Queen

Gems and crystals make great gifts. If your budget doesn’t allow for the real deal, soap gems are a great alternative. The Silicone Gemstone Mold creates perfectly-sized bars to put in a gift box or bag. These gem soaps are simple to make and great for beginners. They’re easy to customize with color and fragrance to suit your […]

The post DIY Crystal Soap Gift Set (with printable!) appeared first on Soap Queen.

Full Line Available at Peony Park Hy-Vee in Omaha

by cash3p @ 18th Street Soap Company

Ever have a difficult time finding your favorite 18th Street Soap in Omaha?  Not anymore!  We are very pleased to announce that Hy-Vee on 79th & Cass Street (Peony Park Hy-Vee) is now carrying the full line of 18th Street Soaps. Hy-Vee Peony Park is open 24/7 and has a bakery, floral … Read More

The post Full Line Available at Peony Park Hy-Vee in Omaha appeared first on 18th Street Soap Company.

Goat Milk Soap Closest PH Level To Our Skin

by @ Alabu Skin Care: Latest News

Goat’s milk has the closest PH level to our skin. It is full of essential nutrients and vitamins like vitamin C, B1, B6, B12, and E. It helps protect our skin from invading bacteria and chemicals, can reduce skin inflammation, and soothes dry and damaged skin.

You Can Now Buy Chocolate Powder to Snort

You Can Now Buy Chocolate Powder to Snort

by Nick Thieme @ Slate Articles

If news reports are to be believed, health-conscious club-goers have a new drug of choice—instead of cocaine, they’re snorting chocolate. Chocolate snuff, designed in 2007 for the birthday party of two members of the Rolling Stones, has made its way through Europe’s club scene in recent years. Apparently, a nasal shot of cocoa allows chocolate’s caffeine to more quickly reach the bloodstream by penetrating the nasal membrane (rather than having to be digested), yielding a quick, immediate, and “natural” buzz.

To make it, chocolatiers grind cacao into dust-fine powder, often including other ingredients such as ginger and mint. The original delivery method, made by Dominique Persoone of the Chocolate Line in Antwerp, Belgium, used a mini catapult to launch the powder into the nose from below. (In the 10 years since Persoone created it, he’s sold 25,000 units, catapult included.) The product proved more popular than the posh delivery system, so today people snort chocolate the same way they snort anything else—via pen caps, dollar bills, fingernails.

Now, it’s come stateside. Dietary supplements company Legal Lean is offering a substance called Coco Loko, an American chocolate snuff, for $20 for 1.25 ounces. The New York Post reports that Coco Loko contains ginkgo biloba, taurine, and guarana, as well as cacao powder. The substance, whose name evokes the memory of Four Loko, comes from a company that also sells “purple drank relaxation syrup.” It’s sold primarily online and to a lesser extent in smoke shops. It’s also untested, and like cabaret in its day, it’s starting to get attention from American lawmakers. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer wrote a letter to the Food and Drug Administration asking it to investigate the safety of the substance.

That might prove tricky. Coco Loko is a dietary supplement, and like all other dietary supplements, it requires no FDA approval to be put onto market. The FDA can regulate it, but for the agency to step in, Coco Loko must be proven to be either unhealthy or mislabeled. Seeing as how Coco Loko is just chocolate powder, it seems unlikely it will be deemed any less safe than a preworkout energy powder called Bucked Up Blood Raz, which contains deer antlers and caffeine and is also sold legally in the United States.

Really, the only chance for Coco Loko to end up off the market would be if the product is found to promise something it can’t deliver. Looking through the marketing makes that seem unlikely too: Most of the promises are vague, linking the cacao to a “sense of calm focus” (surprising for something you’re instructed to snort) or a “steady rush of euphoric energy.” When specific claims are made, the label carefully avoids any mention of cacao as the cause, saying “when endorphins are released it triggers a positive feeling,” but not suggesting that cacao actually causes that release.

Schumer’s press release says he’s bringing attention to the subject “amidst growing concern from both parents and medical professionals,” but it’s unclear exactly where these concerns are coming from. Andrew Lane, a doctor and the director of the Johns Hopkins Sinus Center, told the Washington Post earlier this month, “When I mention it to people, nobody’s ever heard of it.” He said it’s not entirely clear how much caffeine your body could absorb from snorting chocolate powder and warned of the potential danger of the product “getting stuck in there.”

Despite Schumer’s worry that it’s “cocaine on training wheels,” a representative for the Drug Enforcement Administration told the Washington Post that it was “not aware of any agency concerns related to chocolate inhalants.” And, as wholesalers of the chocolate also told the Post, “It’s not flying off shelves or anything.”

Perhaps people just prefer to take their chocolate the normal way—through their mouths.

Natural Bar Soap Guide | Gimme the Good Stuff

Natural Bar Soap Guide | Gimme the Good Stuff

Gimme the Good Stuff

When it comes bar soap, the good news is that there are tons of safe options. The bad news is that most can be difficult to find in stores.

WARNING: All Dove Branded Cosmetics Are Carcinogenic, Saturated With Harmful Dyes and Toxic Perfumes!

WARNING: All Dove Branded Cosmetics Are Carcinogenic, Saturated With Harmful Dyes and Toxic Perfumes!

Stay Naturally Healthy

It must be admitted that no one likes advertisements for beauty and hygiene products unless they are finely carried out. At the supermarket, be it cosmetics, facial creams or hair products, you should always be wary of the components … In your bathroom, you have a tendency to favor certain brands of cosmetics and hygiene …

Soap Labels Guide Part 1: Regulations - Consolidated Label

Soap Labels Guide Part 1: Regulations - Consolidated Label

Consolidated Label

Before you buy soap labels, there are some thing you should know about government regulations. Our guide explains what you need to know to get started.

Your Stories: Awesome Products for my Children & Me

by @ Ida's Soap Box

WOW! I know seems silly to start off with, but I just received my order of your shampoo and body soaps yesterday, and like a little kid waiting for Christmas morning I COULD NOT WAIT to take a shower last night to try some of them out on myself and my 2 year old son. First off, let me say the size of the bars is WONDERFUL! I was not blessed with little hands, so the larger bars are fantastic for me!

As for my son, he thought that they were the neatest thing he's ever seen he immediately started rubbing himself down with the Goat Milk and Honey bar - almost like he instinctively knew that this was good for his skin! He held onto the soap like his life depended on it - ha! I had to negotiate with him to get it out of his hands to continue his bath!

Then came the Carrot Milk and Honey shampoo bar - and WOW! It lathers incredibly, washes out so nicely, but most of all didn't irritate him whatsoever! After drying him off I could NOT believe how soft his skin was and his hair also!!! He's been battling dryness since birth and I have tried relentlessly to find something - anything - to help alleviate the tightness and dryness for him - well, I found it!!

To top it off I also ordered to whipped shea butter and decided to give it a whirl on him - and holy cow, FANTABULOUS is all I have to say! It melts so dreamy with the warmth of your skin, and left him smelling AMAZING and most importantly moisturized! The cutest thing that prompted this email was as I was applying the shea butter onto him, he kept saying "momma, cream so nice" - he has never uttered those words after I've applied lotion to him after a bath - NEVER!

Then it was my turn to try all these treats out! I LOVE LOVE LOVE how the shampoo bars lather and cleaned my hair - I colour my hair, yet after using the shampoo bar my hair has never felt softer and more manageable (Ha - I sound like a commercial!). The soap bars are to die for! I came out of the shower without any tightness or dryness - I actually felt comfortable in my skin! I then tried the whipped shea butter in the Earth Blend scent - OMG! Heavenllllyyy! I LOVE the smell! So clean yet grounding, if that makes sense? I decided to use it not only on my dry patches, but my face as well, and funny thing, my husband thought I had bought a new perfume and was raving about it! That being said it's not super smelly, so no worries to those reading this that someone can smell you from a mile away, you can't - it's more that when the scent warms to your skin, it's a smell like nothing I've experienced, subtle yet still there -yummy!!!

Anyway, I had to share my story with you, and thank you for making a product that it not only good for the hair and skin, but good for children! THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU for making these wonderful products!

A new and now loyal lifer to Chagrin Valley!

Christine, Canada


New Store – Hy-Vee Papillion, NE

by cash3p @ 18th Street Soap Company

We are pleased to announce that you can now find 18th Street Soap at Hy-Vee in Papillion at the Shadow Lake Towne Center. Hy-Vee loves supporting local vendors! You will find 18th Street Soap located in the HBC section in both sizes, , 2.5 ounce at $3.89 and 5 ounce at $6.95. … Read More

The post New Store – Hy-Vee Papillion, NE appeared first on 18th Street Soap Company.

Emails Show USDA Staffers Discouraged From Using the Term Climate Change

Emails Show USDA Staffers Discouraged From Using the Term Climate Change

by Oliver Milman @ Slate Articles

This story was originally published by the Guardian and has been republished here with permission from Climate Desk.

Staff at the U.S. Department of Agriculture have been told to avoid using the term climate change in their work, with the officials instructed to reference weather extremes instead.

A series of emails obtained by the Guardian between staff at the Natural Resources Conservation Service, a USDA unit that oversees farmers’ land conservation, shows that the Trump administration has had a stark impact on the language used by some federal employees around climate change.

A missive from Bianca Moebius-Clune, director of soil health, lists terms that should be avoided by staff and those that should replace them. Climate change is in the “avoid” category, to be replaced by weather extremes. Instead of climate change adaption, staff are asked to use resilience to weather extremes.

The primary cause of human-driven climate change is also targeted, with the term reduce greenhouse gases blacklisted in favor of build soil organic matter, increase nutrient use efficiency. Meanwhile, sequester carbon is ruled out and replaced by build soil organic matter.

In her email to staff, dated Feb. 16, Moebius-Clune said the new language was given to her staff and suggests it be passed on. She writes that “we won’t change the modeling, just how we talk about it—there are a lot of benefits to putting carbon back in the [soil], climate mitigation is just one of them,” and that a colleague from USDA’s public affairs team gave advice to “tamp down on discretionary messaging right now.”

In contrast to these newly contentious climate terms, Moebius-Clune wrote that references to economic growth, emerging business opportunities in the rural U.S., agro-tourism, and “improved aesthetics” should be “tolerated if not appreciated by all.”

In a separate email to senior employees on Jan. 24, just days after Trump’s inauguration, Jimmy Bramblett, deputy chief for programs at the NRCS, said: “It has become clear one of the previous administration’s priority is not consistent with that of the incoming administration. Namely, that priority is climate change. Please visit with your staff and make them aware of this shift in perspective within the executive branch.”

Bramblett added that “prudence” should be used when discussing greenhouse gases and said the agency’s work on air quality regarding these gases could be discontinued.

Other emails show the often-agonized discussions between staff unsure of what is forbidden. On Feb. 16, a staffer named Tim Hafner write to Bramblett: “I would like to know correct terms I should use instead of climate changes and anything to do with carbon. ... I want to ensure to incorporate correct terminology that the agency has approved to use.”

On April 5, Suzanne Baker, a New York–based NRCS employee, emailed a query as to whether staff are “allowed to publish work from outside the USDA that use ‘climate change.’ ” A colleague advises that the issue be determined in a phone call.

Some staff weren’t enamored with the new regime, with one employee stating in an email on July 5 that “we would prefer to keep the language as is” and stressing the need to maintain the “scientific integrity of the work.”

In a statement, USDA said that on Jan. 23 it had issued “interim operating procedures outlining procedures to ensure the new policy team has an opportunity to review policy-related statements, legislation, budgets and regulations prior to issuance.”

The statement added: “This guidance, similar to procedures issued by previous administrations, was misinterpreted by some to cover data and scientific publications. This was never the case and USDA interim procedures will allow complete, objective information for the new policy staff reviewing policy decisions.”

Kaveh Sadeghzadeh of the Natural Resources Conservation Service added that his organization “has not received direction from USDA or the administration to modify its communications on climate change or any other topic.”

Trump has repeatedly questioned the veracity of climate change research, infamously suggesting that it is part of an elaborate Chinese hoax. The president has started the process of withdrawing the U.S. from the Paris Climate Agreement, has instructed the Environmental Protection Agency to scrap or amend various regulations aimed at cutting greenhouse gases, and has moved to open up more public land and waters to fossil fuel activity.

The nomenclature of the federal government has also shifted as these new priorities have taken hold. Mentions of the dangers of climate change have been removed from the websites of the White House and the Department of the Interior, while the EPA scrapped its entire online climate section in April pending a review that will be “updating language to reflect the approach of new leadership.”

“These records reveal Trump’s active censorship of science in the name of his political agenda,” said Meg Townsend, open government attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity.

“To think that federal agency staff who report about the air, water and soil that sustains the health of our nation must conform their reporting with the Trump administration’s anti-science rhetoric is appalling and dangerous for America and the greater global community.”

The Center for Biological Diversity is currently suing several government agencies, including the EPA and State Department, to force them to release information on the “censoring” of climate change verbiage.

While some of the changes to government websites may have occurred anyway, the emails from within the USDA are the clearest indication yet that staff have been instructed to steer clear of acknowledging climate change or its myriad consequences.

U.S. agriculture is a major source of heat-trapping gases, with 15 percent of the country’s emissions deriving from farming practices. A USDA plan to address the “far-reaching” impacts of climate change is still online.

However, Sam Clovis, Trump’s nomination to be the USDA’s chief scientist, has labeled climate research “junk science.”

Last week it was revealed that Clovis, who is not a scientist, once ran a blog where he called progressives “race traders and race ‘traitors’ ” and likened Barack Obama to a “communist.”

The FDA Is Scrapping the Obama-Era Approach to E-Cig Regulation. Good.

The FDA Is Scrapping the Obama-Era Approach to E-Cig Regulation. Good.

by Jacob Grier @ Slate Articles

On Friday, the Food and Drug Administration announced that the agency would be taking a new approach to tobacco regulation—including an initiative to lower nicotine levels in cigarettes to “non-addictive” levels. This came as a shock to the industry. Stocks of major tobacco companies plunged after the announcement, apparently dashing expectations that the agency would be taking a more business-friendly approach to regulation under the Trump administration.

But this is in fact a business-friendly approach to regulation—at least to the business of e-cigarettes and other vapor products. Although the wisdom of mandating lower nicotine yields in cigarettes is debatable, the agency’s new openness to e-cigarettes is fantastic news for public health.

In the eight years that the FDA has had the reins on tobacco regulation (yes, prior to that it did not have authority), it has done very little to curb smoking. Instead, it has imposed rules that protected Big Tobacco from competition and threatened to destroy the burgeoning market for e-cigarettes. Friday’s announcement changes all that, signaling a move toward a much more sensible policy toward vapor products under new FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb. The regulatory regime that governs cigarettes has never functioned well, and it would have been disastrous for e-cigarettes, threatening to undo the most promising anti-smoking technology to come along in decades.

The dominant narrative around this move has oversimplified the FDA’s history with tobacco, which is worth revisiting. The FDA got its authority over tobacco when President Obama signed the Tobacco Control Act in June of 2009. At the signing ceremony in the Rose Garden, Obama presented the law as a victory against Big Tobacco: “Despite decades of lobbying and advertising by the tobacco industry,” Obama said, “we’ve passed a law to help protect the next generation of Americans from growing up with a deadly habit that so many of our generation have lived with.”

Obama neglected to mention that one of the law’s key supporters was none other than Philip Morris, owner of Marlboro, the best-selling brand of cigarettes in the United States. Representatives of Philip Morris had worked on the bill behind the scenes with the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, acknowledging a “commonality of interests” in pushing it through Congress.

The law directed the FDA to set up a system of pre-market review for any new cigarettes introduced after 2007. In theory, producers of new cigarettes merely had to demonstrate that their products were substantially equivalent to ones already on the market, a straightforward process that was intended to take no more than 90 days. In practice, new entrants were unable to penetrate the agency’s opaque approval pathways, resulting in a yearslong freeze on competition. Philip Morris benefited from owning Marlboro, whose near 40 percent share of the market has barely shifted under FDA regulation.

The agency’s failure to effectively regulate cigarettes, a mature technology that has been extensively studied since the 1950s, raised doubts about its competence to take on the far more complex questions surrounding e-cigarettes. When the FDA detailed its plans to aggressively regulate e-cigarettes last year by using the same exact regulatory regime it had used for cigarettes, that concern seemed warranted. Per that plan, any vapor products introduced after 2007—essentially all of them—would have to retroactively apply for pre-market approval. Those that failed to receive it could be ordered off the market, potentially sending millions of users back to far more dangerous combustible cigarettes. It looked as if Philip Morris’ gamble would pay off more than anyone could have anticipated.

Since the market for e-cigarettes barely existed in 2007, there was no baseline established for the product, meaning e-cig producers couldn’t just apply under the substantial equivalence standard that is available to cigarettes. Instead they had to meet a much vaguer standard, convincing FDA regulators that approving their products is “appropriate for the protection of the public health.” It’s uncertain exactly what that will entail with the FDA’s new direction, but we do know that it would have been outrageously expensive to seek approval under the old one. The FDA’s own impact analysis estimated that the cost of application would average $466,563 for delivery systems and $131,643 for e-liquids, compared with only $22,700 for conventional cigarettes applying under the substantial equivalence pathway.

The agency’s existing guidance on what to include in applications is daunting, going far beyond providing basic toxicological and safety reports. Producers are also required to show that their products will be beneficial to the health of the population as a whole by proving that they will not discourage current smokers from quitting or lead nonsmokers to initiate use. Thus, even if a vapor product is indisputably safer than conventional cigarettes for the individual user—and the vast majority of them most certainly are—the FDA could ban it anyway.

Given these regulatory hurdles, one may wonder who would have bothered even attempting to surmount them. Indeed, the FDA expected that not many would try. The agency’s preliminary impact analysis predicted that the costs of seeking approval would be “high enough to expect additional product exit, consolidation, and reduction in variety” in the e-cigarette sector and that only 20 to 80 applications would be received in the first two years of regulation (it has since revised this estimate upward). As the deadline for submitting applications loomed in late 2018, literally thousands of products—not just hardware but also discrete flavors and concentrations of e-juice—faced removal from the market.

When the regulations were originally announced, critics had dubbed the law the “Marlboro Monopoly Act,” because the new barriers to entry would end up insulating Philip Morris from competition. Once they were expanded to e-cigs and the agency seemed poised to ban thousands of vapor products, the nickname took on new meaning. Who would be left to fill the demand for e-cigs, and who would have the money and know-how to navigate the byzantine, expensive path to FDA approval? The big tobacco companies, of course. Though late to the game, big tobacco companies have finally begun investing heavily in new alternatives, including the massive research budgets needed to get past FDA administrators.

Friday’s announcement doesn’t eliminate these regulatory burdens, but it does push back the deadline to submit applications to 2022. It also gives the agency time to further study the effects of vaping on smoking cessation and initiation, potentially allowing for the creation of general standards that will relieve companies of having to conduct costly original research for every individual product.

The FDA’s top-down approach to tobacco regulation, with its glacial bureaucracy and barriers to entry that favor large corporations, was always ill-suited to the dynamic market for e-cigarettes. These new products didn’t originate with pharmaceutical companies, which have focused on nicotine replacement therapies like patches and gums that fail to replicate the experience of smoking and therefore have limited appeal. Nor did they come from the big tobacco firms, whose dabbling in safer cigarettes was long hobbled by lawyerly double-speak denying that regular cigarettes were dangerous in the first place.

In contrast, e-cigarettes were developed by a Chinese pharmacist and then evolved through exchanges on passionate online communities. As detailed in a recent paper from the Reason Foundation, home experimentation, larger batteries, and standardized threads to connect power sources to vaporizers helped create a highly hackable, competitive market that allows vapers to customize safer alternatives to cigarettes that work for them. (Disclosure: I also write for Reason, which the Reason Foundation publishes.) Today’s vapers benefit from the kind of bottom-up innovation that could have never flourished under heavy-handed regulation by the FDA.

Though many questions about the effects of vaping remain to be answered, the evidence so far is that it has the potential to greatly reduce the death toll of cigarettes. In the United Kingdom, the Royal College of Physicians has estimated that vaping carries just 5 percent of the risk of conventional smoking and advises policymakers to encourage its adoption by smokers. American health institutions are more hostile, with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention raising the alarm that e-cigarettes will be a gateway drug to the real thing. Yet youth smoking rates have fallen by half even as vaping has become more popular, and evidence is mounting that e-cigarettes can help smokers quit. The success of harm reduction approaches is also evident in Sweden, where the use of smokeless snus has helped the country achieve the lowest smoking rates in Europe.

While the full details of the FDA’s new approach have not yet been revealed, the announcement signals a promising reversal from a path that would have perversely favored lethal cigarettes over much safer alternatives. The agency’s previous course would have been terrible for public health, purging the market of thousands of vapor products and sending smokers back into the arms of Big Tobacco. E-cigarettes are giving smokers the best shot to quit they’ve had in years. Regulation that stifles that innovation would represent a seizing of the market by the only companies rich and well-connected enough to navigate the FDA’s costly approval process. That would have been very good for Philip Morris, but not for the smokers finally finding a way to quit its products.

Disclosure: I worked at the Cato Institute almost a decade ago when it received some tobacco company donations.

Great Feeling Skin, Goat Milk Soap

by @ Alabu Skin Care: Latest News

There are chemicals in commercial soap that can cause problems such as dry skin. Commercial soap keeps your skin from feeling and looking as good as it can. Goat milk soap is all natural which help to create healthier skin for you. Why not use a natural soap that is fortified with vitamins and helps to strengthen the skin instead of drying it out or causing rashes.



Unilever global company website

Dove is committed to helping women realise their personal potential for beauty by engaging them with products that deliver real care.

White Beauty Bar

White Beauty Bar

Dove US

Care for your skin every day with the classic Dove formula and ¼ moisturizing cream that you love in the Dove White Beauty Bar.

A Comparison of the Ingredients in Handmade Soap and Dove

A Comparison of the Ingredients in Handmade Soap and Dove


Is Dove better or worse than handmade soap? Here's a soap maker's opinion of handmade soap vs Dove.

Goat Milk Soap Works Wonders!

by @ Alabu Skin Care: Latest News

Goat milk contains over 50 nutrients, acids, minerals and enzymes that work to nourish and revitalize dehydrated skin. It is the only milk that contains capric capryllic triglyceride. Because goat milk soap has a pH level similar to human skin it benefits the skin by protecting skin from bacterial and chemical invasions.

Not all SOAPS are the Same, KNOW what your buying

Not all SOAPS are the Same, KNOW what your buying


While buying soap isn't a new concept it is one that does require a little education. Before I had reason to research this topic, chances are you had the same thoughts as I did and thought that soap was...

Introducing the Cocktail Fragrance Oil Collection

by Kelsey with Bramble Berry @ Soap Queen

We have a new collection of cocktail-inspired scents that will get you in the creative spirit. It includes Scotch Whisky Fragrance Oil, Spiked Eggnog Fragrance Oil, Sparkling Fig Cocktail Fragrance Oil, and Kentucky Bourbon Fragrance Oil. They have warm, spicy, and sweet notes that work well in holiday projects, but can also be used year-round. We can’t wait to see […]

The post Introducing the Cocktail Fragrance Oil Collection appeared first on Soap Queen.

FurEver Home Dog Rescue – Annual Garage Sale, Fremont NE

by cash3p @ 18th Street Soap Company

FurEver Home Dog Rescue in Fremont Nebraska is holding their 2nd Annual Garage Sale on Saturday, June 10, 9am-12pm. The Garage Sale will be held at: 1045 N William Ave in Fremont. FurEver Home in Fremont, Nebraska works to rescue stray and abandoned dogs, and dogs that are in danger of being … Read More

The post FurEver Home Dog Rescue – Annual Garage Sale, Fremont NE appeared first on 18th Street Soap Company.

10-Minute DIY Holiday Gift Idea: Peppermint Soap - Happiness is Homemade

10-Minute DIY Holiday Gift Idea: Peppermint Soap - Happiness is Homemade

Happiness is Homemade

These lightning quick peppermint soaps are a fun DIY holiday gift idea for friends, neighbors and teachers and can be whipped up in about ten minutes!

Set Me Free Project – Comedy For Change

by cash3p @ 18th Street Soap Company

Set Me Free Project’s Comedy For Change A night of comedy, fun, and food to benefit Set Me Free Project and help protect our youth from ever seeing the dark of sex trafficking! Silent and Live Auction – Raffle (18th Street Soap Gift Basket) – Dinner and Cocktails Thursday, March 2 6:00 … Read More

The post Set Me Free Project – Comedy For Change appeared first on 18th Street Soap Company.

Can You Cure Autism?

Can You Cure Autism?

by Brendan Borrell @ Slate Articles

This story originally appeared on Spectrum and has been republished here with permission.

From the moment her 18-month-old son Sam was diagnosed with autism, Elizabeth B., or Liz, found it difficult to accept. When Sam failed to make much progress in an early intervention program and, later, at a special-needs preschool in Manhattan, Liz consulted with his speech therapist. The therapist suggested Liz look into the Son-Rise Program, taught at the Option Institute’s Autism Treatment Center of America in western Massachusetts. (Liz asked that we not mention her last name, out of concern for her and her son’s privacy.)

The name rang a bell with Liz. She had a vague recollection of seeing a 1979 made-for-TV movie called Son-Rise: A Miracle of Love. In the movie, New York advertising executive Barry Neil Kaufman and his wife “cure” their son’s autism at home, spending more than eight hours a day immersed in his world and copying his behaviors.

The therapy seemed worth a shot. So in August 2005, Liz and her husband paid $1,623 in fees, left Sam, then almost 4, with a family friend, and drove to the institute’s 100-acre campus for a five-day Son-Rise “startup” class. The angular brown buildings scattered in the woods give the institute the look of a New Age monastery. Adding to the monastic vibe, participants are advised to leave their valuables at home because the dormitory doors lock only from the inside.

Liz hadn’t anticipated how deeply the experience would affect her. Having a child with autism can feel isolating, and because Sam didn’t participate in school activities or have friends, she had few friends herself. But on the first day of the Son-Rise Program, as she took a seat on the floor of the lecture hall with about 100 other parents, she immediately felt at ease. “You have a powerful sense that you are with cousins,” she says.

On Tuesday evening, Barry Neil Kaufman, known as “Bears,” made his rounds in the dining hall, clad in his usual getup: a blazer and a black turtleneck. Liz found his message of love and acceptance intoxicating and, for the first time since Sam’s diagnosis, felt she had a way to help her son. When Kaufman spoke of children with autism as having limitless potential, his words resonated strongly with Liz.

Over the next four years, she spent nearly $50,000 on Option Institute programs, both for Sam and for her husband and herself, and to train as a mentor for other parents. Although that amount may seem extreme, she is hardly alone: More than 30,000 families from more than 120 countries have participated in the Son-Rise Program over the past three decades, according to the institute. Some families pay full price to attend multiple courses, others receive scholarships from the institute, and a few even resort to crowdfunding. “Your generosity would allow our beloved son to experience the best treatment available,” reads one plea to raise $25,000 on the GoFundMe website.

The prices at the institute are especially steep given that states such as California and New York pay for a wide range of evidence-based interventions. Son-Rise startup classes are advertised as $2,200 per parent; an “intensive” course, attended by parents and children, can run to $18,000. “Should you be selling your house to pay for this extraordinarily expensive program?” asks Catherine Lord, founding director of the Center for Autism and the Developing Brain at New York-Presbyterian Hospital in New York. “That’s where we are getting worried.”

Investing in Son-Rise, experts say, is a little like buying a lottery ticket. “I’m not aware of any rigorous scientific evidence that supports it,” says Fred Volkmar, head of the Autism Program at Yale University. There are no independent clinical trials or scientific studies of Son-Rise to back the institute’s claims that the program “helps parents cure their children in some cases” and “achieve significant improvement in almost all cases.”

At the same time, autism researchers express frustration that the Kaufmans discourage parents from combining Son-Rise with proven behavioral therapies and direct them instead toward alternative treatments, such as horse therapy and homeopathy. Some former employees Spectrum interviewed describe the institute as rule-bound, lacking in transparency, and focused on fundraising. The Kaufmans, they say, control nearly every detail of the program and demand unstinting loyalty from staff and commitment from families.

Bryn Hogan, executive director of the institute’s Autism Treatment Center of America and the Kaufmans’ daughter, says that the center welcomes more research on its programs and that the criticism it’s received is unfair or inaccurate. “People tend to be suspicious of things they don’t fully understand,” she says.

* * *

When the Son-Rise Program launched, it was, in some ways, considered revolutionary. In the 1970s, scientists understood little about the biological basis of autism, and the options to help children with the condition were few and far between. “We didn’t know anything about what to do with them,” says Bryna Siegel, a developmental psychologist and founder of the Autism Center of Northern California, a nonprofit organization that provides diagnosis, treatment planning, and support.

In his now-discredited 1967 book, The Empty Fortress, psychoanalyst Bruno Bettelheim blamed cold, unresponsive “refrigerator mothers” for autism and recommended institutionalizing their children. At the same time, psychologist Ole Ivar Lovaas had started to advocate the use of rewards and punishments to help children on the spectrum communicate more and harm themselves less. His approach, which now falls under the umbrella of applied behavioral analysis is the most widely used therapy for autism, but it is not without controversy. Some adults on the spectrum who have experienced ABA decry the idea of forcing children with autism to conform to neurotypical standards of behavior.

Son-Rise, by contrast, is intended to tap into the well of unconditional love that parents feel for their children. Although the Option Institute declined to make Kaufman available for interviews, he responded by email to questions regarding this article. He also described the method and its origins in detail in his 1976 memoir and in subsequent publications and videos. With dark, expressive eyebrows and a snow-white beard, Kaufman looks less like a young James Farentino, who plays him in the movie, and more like an aging folk singer.

The Son-Rise story, as Kaufman relays it, begins with his third child, Raun. As an infant, Raun had a severe ear infection that nearly killed him, and he subsequently retreated inside himself. By the time he was about a year old, the curly haired boy spent hours each day rocking back and forth or spinning plates on their edges. When he was 18 months old, doctors diagnosed him with autism and an IQ under 30. In the Son-Rise movie, which is based on Kaufman’s memoir, one physician tells Kaufman and his wife she can do nothing for Raun until the boy is 3 years old, and, even then, it will make little difference. “Wait a minute, wait a minute, Dr. Field. Are you saying autism is not curable … it’s not treatable?” Kaufman asks.

“I’m saying that we can’t offer him much hope,” the physician replies.

Kaufman refused to accept her statement. He was an adherent of the Option Method, a self-help movement built on the idea that people can change their feelings by changing their beliefs. “It was not merely a philosophy,” Kaufman later wrote in his memoir, “but a vision that would become the basis for our way of life and a foundation from which we would try to help Raun.”

Raun’s parents chose to see him much as they saw his neurotypical sisters—a child who could choose his own fate. Each morning, his mother, Samahria, shut herself and her son in the downstairs bathroom—a “playroom” where they would be free from distractions. Instead of trying to quell his repetitive “stimming” behaviors, as an ABA therapist might do, she joined him. And after five months, Kaufman says in his memoir, Raun was speaking more, eating by himself, and playing with family members. The parents continued to work with their son for three more years—at which point he bore “absolutely no traces of his original condition.”

When Raun was 10, the family bought 86 acres of land in Massachusetts for $400,000 and founded the nonprofit Option Institute to share their methods with other parents and would-be practitioners. Today, the Autism Treatment Center of America’s website describes Raun, its global director of education, as having a “near-genius” IQ. “I’ve lived the life I was never supposed to live,” the 43-year-old Brown University graduate wrote in his 2014 book.

The institute often features Raun in its advertising and plays up the contrasts between Son-Rise and ABA, criticizing the more widely accepted approach for having lax training standards for facilitators and creating “robotic” children. In 2010, for instance, Raun produced a series of videos that were a play on the “Get a Mac” ad campaign from the early 2000s. In his version, a slouching nerd in a tie represents ABA, whereas Raun, sporting a hip goatee and a black leather jacket, embodies Son-Rise. “Would you rather your child be able to perform 25 scripted behaviors, or would you rather he be able to relate to people?” he asks.

* * *

Hogan says that her adopted daughter, Jade, now 22, has also “recovered” from autism thanks to Son-Rise. (Jade was never diagnosed outside the institute.) For decades, recovery stories like this confounded researchers, who characterized autism as a lifelong condition. When they came across a child who seemed to lose his diagnosis, they often assumed he had initially been misdiagnosed. In her 1996 book, Siegel expressed skepticism about Raun’s autism diagnosis alongside her doubts about the program.

Since that time, however, opinions about the permanence of an autism diagnosis have started to shift. A 2008 review of autism outcomes reported that between 3 and 25 percent of individuals with autism may eventually outgrow that label. Rather than calling these children “cured,” researchers prefer to say the children have achieved an “optimal outcome.” Some of these children become virtually indistinguishable from their neurotypical peers, says Deborah Fein, professor of psychology at the University of Connecticut who has led much of the research. MRI scans, however, reveal that the children recruit different brain areas during certain language comprehension tasks than typical children do. The finding suggests that instead of recovering, these children find ways to compensate for their neurological differences.

The big question for both parents and doctors is whether behavioral therapy can increase the odds of achieving an optimal outcome. One 2014 study compared the histories of 34 children and adolescents at the mild end of the spectrum with 25 individuals who had achieved “optimal outcome.” It found that the latter were more likely to have had a diagnosis by the age of 4 and, consequently, ended up receiving more attention from therapists, notably ABA practitioners. “The window is most open the younger they are,” Fein says. Other studies suggest that the type of intervention is less important than the families’ participation.

Despite her own doubts about Son-Rise, Siegel has seen at least one child who participated in the Son-Rise Program lose his autism diagnosis—a diagnosis she made herself. In November 1996, Lisa Kay brought her nearly 3-year-old son, Michael, for an evaluation at the University of California–San Francisco, where Siegel served as director of the autism program. Michael was spending up to an hour every day rocking back and forth to MTV videos, making the sound “ee-ee.” Siegel concluded that Michael met “seven or eight diagnostic criteria for autism,” according to her records. (Although these checklists have since changed, at the time, a diagnosis called for six.)

Kay followed Siegel’s recommendation that Michael begin speech therapy, but rather than enroll him in the behavioral therapy Siegel suggested, she started him on a Son-Rise program. Still, when Siegel re-examined him two years later as part of a study following young children with autism, he no longer met the autism criteria, although he had some lingering speech difficulties. After Michael graduated from high school, the Option Institute posted a video of him on YouTube with the title “Michael Fully Recovers From Autism with The Son-Rise Program.” (The video had more than 79,000 views as of September). “I wouldn’t deny that Son-Rise was an active ingredient,” Siegel says, “but I think it was unlikely that it was the only active ingredient.”

Michael, now in his 20s, is tall and sturdily built and has an unguarded, earnest manner. After he graduated from college, he interviewed for a job with the Option Institute but says he wasn’t “animated” enough—something he says the institute’s staff prize in the employees they train to work with children. Even so, Son-Rise is still a big part of his identity. When he isn’t at work as an insurance broker, he volunteers to help a local family the institute put him in touch with. Because the program recommends at least 20 and ideally more than 40 hours of treatment a week, families often recruit a half-dozen or more “play” volunteers, from high school students to adults like Michael who are interested in autism.

One morning in March, I joined Michael as he drove out to meet the family in Pleasanton, California. On this Sunday, as soon as Michael gets out of his truck, a gangly 13-year-old named Jay runs up and puts his arm around Michael, hustling him upstairs to the family’s playroom. As the Son-Rise Program recommends, the room has a one-way mirror on the door and is empty except for a few cushions for seating, along with props brought in based on the child’s interests. Jay is fascinated by birthdays, for example, and on the walls of his playroom hang sheets of paper listing the birthdays of Jay’s volunteers, friends, and family members.

For the next half-hour, Jay sings songs from the TV show The Wiggles in a raspy, whispering voice. That’s his “ism”—the Son-Rise term for a repetitive behavior. Michael intermittently tries to join in. At one point, Jay touches Michael with his bare feet. “What am I going to do with these feet?” Michael asks. “Want me to tickle these feet?”

“Squeeze my feet,” Jay says.

Jay’s mother, Madhuri Reddy, a former biochemist, says she has no illusions that Son-Rise will cure Jay. But since Jay started the program, she says, he has had fewer “meltdowns.” Michael also seems to have a sober opinion of the possible outcomes. “He might not recover to the same extent I have,” he says. “I think it’s OK to accept that because he’s happy.”

* * *

“Happy” is important, but it’s only through rigorous, long-term studies that researchers can establish which programs are effective and which are fluff. Siegel, Lord, and other experts acknowledge that components of the Son-Rise Program—intense parental involvement and an early start—might be beneficial for children with autism. For example, a 2012 clinical trial found that when parents learned to curb their pessimism about children with challenging behaviors, those children were more likely to improve. And one classic 1984 study suggested that children with autism are more likely to interact with an experimenter if she imitates their actions.

But after 30 years, there is no independent evidence that the program leads to success stories like Raun’s or Michael’s—or even modest improvements like Jay’s. In fact, at least one study has found that the intensity of the program can sometimes increase family stress levels. That 2003 survey of 87 parents who had pursued Son-Rise concluded that the program “led to more drawbacks than benefits for the families over time.” Part of that may be a matter of expectations. In 2009, the United Kingdom’s Advertising Standards Authority sanctioned the institute for misleading the public after it ran an ad touting Son-Rise as an autism “cure.”

In 2013, psychologist Kat Houghton, a former employee of the Option Institute, published the first attempt to evaluate the Son-Rise Program, studying only 12 children with autism. According to court records, the institute agreed to pay Houghton $16,500 to gather, code, and analyze data for the treatment study, but Houghton did not disclose any conflict of interest in the published article. Houghton directed questions about the research funding to psychologist Charlie Lewis at Lancaster University in the U.K. who is a co-author on the study and her Ph.D. adviser. Lewis says he was unaware that Houghton was explicitly paid for that research but that they had both been “passionately committed to an unbiased study design and a completely independent research process.”

Last year, two researchers, including one of Houghton’s co-authors, tried to gauge the program’s effectiveness from another angle, surveying 49 parents who had attended two five-day Son-Rise courses at the institute. But they based their positive conclusions on the parents’ subjective assessments. Anecdotally, at least, negative reviews of Son-Rise from parents are hard to come by. Spectrum spoke with a number of parents who felt the program had given them powerful tools for connecting with their children, though they disliked the program’s rigidity. Some, like Liz, ended up feeling deeply conflicted.

After Liz’s initial stay at the institute in 2005, she and her husband moved to the lower level of their Manhattan duplex and turned their upstairs bedroom into Sam’s playroom, complete with a padded floor and a video camera. Liz recruited a half-dozen volunteers who joined Sam whenever he stimmed. She says the program was instrumental in getting Sam to begin to speak and to use the toilet on his own. “For me, that’s Son-Rise,” she says.

At other times, though, she questioned whether she was doing the right thing—particularly after she paid $10,000 in 2006 to bring Sam to a weeklong session that the institute’s website claims can lead to more than 90 percent increases in a child’s attention span, eye contact, and language use. The program was supposed to be personalized, but she says it felt prepackaged. In 2009, she enrolled in another expensive monthlong course at the institute to become certified as an “option process mentor.” She hoped to work with other families in her community and soon got referrals from Houghton. At the time, Houghton was also working as a mentor and was running a business that combined Son-Rise with other therapies.

The Kaufmans, however, apparently grew worried that Houghton was poaching their clients and diluting their message. In February 2010, the Option Institute sued Houghton in federal court, alleging trademark infringement, unfair competition, and breach of contract. The institute’s staff then started asking mentors to take sides. Raun Kaufman called Liz and told her she could not remain certified or attend future courses unless she cut ties with Houghton, according to an affidavit from Liz filed in that lawsuit. (Bryn Hogan’s affidavit says the institute did not make any such threat.) “In effect, she is stealing from the Option Institute,” Liz remembers him telling her.

According to Liz’s affidavit, she asked if he was giving her an ultimatum; he replied that he was.

“It was like I was being shunned,” Liz says. Although the case between the Kaufmans and Houghton was settled out of court, Liz felt wounded. They had drawn her in with a message of love and acceptance, but it seemed that applied only to a loyal inner circle. “The whole premise that they base their program on wasn’t something they were living up to in their own business practices,” she says.

* * *

Liz’s sudden expulsion from the Son-Rise community jibes with stories that several former employees told Spectrum, casting the Kaufmans as controlling. Allegations that the organization is a cult are hyperbolic, they say, but it is unquestionably quasi-religious: The institute’s articles of incorporation describe it as providing a “path to God,” and staff members sign off on emails to each other with “Love.”

Steven Wertz, a seminary graduate who befriended the Kaufmans in the early 1980s and went to work for them soon thereafter, recalls the early days of the institute as inspiring. But after 15 years of working for the institute, his enthusiasm waned. He says Kaufman asked him to ghostwrite a Son-Rise manual. Wertz wanted credit but says Kaufman viewed him as a disciple who had learned everything from him; Wertz refused the offer. “From that moment onward, I was on the way out,” he says. “You don’t, under most circumstances, say ‘no’ to Mr. Kaufman.” (Kaufman refutes this version of events but did not offer details.) Wertz later became ABA-certified and founded the Growing Minds Autism Programs in Colorado that trains parents to work with their children.

Andrew Shahan, who worked as a child facilitator in the late 1990s, says he had a similar experience. He remembers calling one mother, who broke down in tears; she felt she had failed at the program because she couldn’t keep up with the costs. “This felt wrong to me,” Shahan says. When Shahan aired his doubts about how families were being pressured, he says he too was nudged toward the exit. He went on to get a master’s degree in special education at San Francisco State University and is now director of child development in California at the Center for Social Dynamics, a company that provides diagnostic services, ABA-based treatment plans, and support services.

Today, the upper ranks of the Option Institute are mostly members of the Kaufman family, who have a home on the campus. In 2015, Bears and Samahria Kaufman receive a combined salary of approximately $240,000, along with $260,000 for the lease of the property on which they built the campus. Combined with donations and other unspecified sources of income, the institute’s annual revenues approach $6 million, according to tax documents. The Son-Rise Program brings in more than $2.5 million of that through classes held in the United States, the U.K., Singapore, and other countries.

They are impressive earnings for an intervention that, even when it helps, may not lead to sustained improvements. In Sam’s case, for example, his progress tapered off after his initial gains. At almost 16, Sam has just completed eighth grade in a special-needs class, where he was taught “life skills,” such as making coffee with a Keurig machine and selling it to teachers. “Their expectation of his development was so low,” Liz says.

She and her husband recently decided to take Sam out of public school and enroll him in a program for children with brain injuries at the Institutes for the Achievement of Human Potential in Philadelphia. That program, which costs more than $6,000 for two weeklong sessions, involves a number of physical exercises, including “masking,” in which Sam breathes into a plastic bag for up to a minute. The idea is that this dilates his blood vessels, and when the bag is removed, his brain gets a burst of oxygen. “We’re doing this up to 60 times a day,” she says.

When Sam’s pediatrician told Liz that there is little evidence to back up the oxygen program, Liz brushed off the doctor’s skepticism. “We have nothing to lose,” she says.

Read more from Spectrum:

Eggnog Cold Process Soap DIY

by Anne-Marie Faiola @ Soap Queen

When the temperature starts to drop, nothing beats a glass of eggnog. Well, nothing except a glass of eggnog with a little splash of rum. If you’re a fan of that combination, you’ll love our new Spiked Eggnog Fragrance Oil. It has notes of vanilla, nutmeg, caramel, and rum.  Those warm and comforting notes inspired […]

The post Eggnog Cold Process Soap DIY appeared first on Soap Queen.

Kutol Offers Free eGuide on Foam Soap Labor Savings

by Dan Renner @ Kutol


Dove's Hypoallergenic Sensitive Skin Bar... NOW with Dipropylene Glycol!

Dove's Hypoallergenic Sensitive Skin Bar... NOW with Dipropylene Glycol!

The Allergista

I feel like companies should be required to put a little sticker or notice on their products when the formula changes... it's just a NICE thing to do for your customers, you know? I've been using Dove's Fragrance-Free Hypoallergenic Sensitive Skin Bars for a couple years and it's been great.

More than just a trendy label: The uphill struggle to make the cod fishery sustainable

More than just a trendy label: The uphill struggle to make the cod fishery sustainable

CBC News

A fish plant owner who fought hard for environmental certification in a Newfoundland fishery says he had no choice but to give it up, Sarah Smellie writes.

Now Available at Lauritzen Gardens Gift Shop

by cash3p @ 18th Street Soap Company

18th Street Soap Company is happy to announce that our soaps are now available at Lauritzen Gardens! A Unique Shopping Destination If you are looking for a sophisticated shopping spot, Lauritzen Gardens provides it for you. The 2,000-square-foot gift shop features high-quality gift items, enchanting scents and the tools and books you … Read More

The post Now Available at Lauritzen Gardens Gift Shop appeared first on 18th Street Soap Company.

The Gruesome Truth About Lab-Grown Meat

The Gruesome Truth About Lab-Grown Meat

by Nick Thieme @ Slate Articles

Plant-based food company Hampton Creek recently announced its plans to bring lab-grown meat into stores within the next year. It’s an ambitious plan, and there are good reasons to be skeptical of its claim—the plant-based mayonnaise company’s business practices have been persistent targets for critics, drawing accusations of bad science, mislabeling, and even instructing employees to buy its mayonnaise off the shelves to drive up sales numbers. Hampton Creek is also hoping to beat its competitors to market by about two years, despite its late entry into “cultured meat”—a bold target that has others in the industry skeptical of the company’s claims.

The whole point of lab-grown meat is to create a more sustainable product that doesn’t require the hassle and waste of cattle production—it’s meat grown in a lab rather than on a set of bones. If Hampton Creek wins (and thus far it’s come out on top in the majority of its controversies), it could be the first to create “meat” grown using plant nutrients only.*

Hear this article on Slate Voice!

Yes, all lab-grown meat so far requires a product called fetal bovine serum. What is fetal bovine serum? Why does it exist? Where does it come from? What else is it used for? It turns out that FBS is a somewhat common product, and one that we have to thank for many a medical innovation. Let’s explore.

FBS, as the name implies, is a byproduct made from the blood of cow fetuses. If a cow coming for slaughter happens to be pregnant, the cow is slaughtered and bled, and then the fetus is removed from its mother and brought into a blood collection room. The fetus, which remains alive during the following process to ensure blood quality, has a needle inserted into its heart. Its blood is then drained until the fetus dies, a death that usually takes about five minutes. This blood is then refined, and the resulting extract is FBS.

Millions of fetuses are slaughtered this way. Although cows and bulls are kept separate to preclude the possibility of horseplay, most dairy cows, which are kept pregnant to ensure milk production, are eventually slaughtered too. Estimates put the percentage of slaughtered dairy cows found to be pregnant between 17 and 31 percent.

Why is fetal cow blood used to make fake meat in the first place? Let’s back up: Cultured meat grown in a lab is made from bovine cells that grow in a petri dish to ultimately produce a substance that is meatlike enough to market as a burger—because it’s made of the exact same cells. And cells, the basis of this substance, are notoriously suicidal. Usually, this is a good thing: In order for distinct body parts to develop and for those body parts to keep working, cells must be able to kill themselves if they realize they’re in the wrong place. That’s great in a body, but it means that when you put cells in a plastic dish (like a lab technician would do when growing fake meat), the cells are going to do their best to die. FBS stops their deaths because it contains growth factors, substances that can lie to cells and convince them they’re right where they should be.

FBS isn’t the only serum that can be used to culture meat cells, but it is the most widely used, even among other cow-blood products. Jan van der Valk, a scientist in the department of animals in science and society at Utrecht University, explained that cow fetuses are “organisms in development.” That means their blood contains more growth factors than older cows’ blood, making it better for cell culture and growing cultured meat.

FBS is also special because it is a universal growth medium. You can take almost any cell type, toss it into a petri dish with FBS, and the cells will grow. Other sera don’t have that universality. Instead, they’re cell-specific, so if you want to grow muscle tissue, you use muscle tissue serum, and if you want to grow brain tissue, you use brain tissue serum. So, while FBS could one day be used to make everything on a charcuterie board, other non-FBS alternatives would require multiple sera to make the pâté, liver, and sausage.

But, even though FBS is currently convenient, using it defeats the purpose of cultured meat in an extremely obvious way: You’re still slaughtering cows. Why not just eat the meat from the cow instead of going through a laborious process that turns cow cells into other cow cells? As it stands, cultured meat isn’t vegetarian, which means it can’t be marketed to vegetarians or vegans, many of whom oppose meat because of the cruelty of the meat industry or the environmental intensiveness of the meat industry. Cultured meat grown by way of FBS doesn’t, at all, address that problem—in fact, when it comes to the moral argument, slaughtering and extracting fetal blood from an unborn cow is possibly a more disturbing way to get meat.

But it’s not like FBS is only used in cultured meat. The use of the serum is extensive, with FBS being cited in more than 10,000 research papers, far more than other cow blood products. These papers cover a lot of research topics. FBS has been used in the development of vaccines for many types of cancer, influenza, HIV, and hepatitis, as well as to help understand the development of brain and muscle tissues. Still, there is a movement to reduce its role in vaccine development, partly for ethical reasons, but also because it’s a public health concern. Vaccines created with FBS can transmit mad cow disease, and although transmission is extremely unlikely, your chances being about 1 in 40 billion, the Food and Drug Administration has strongly discouraged its use for the past 25 years. Van der Valk sees this risk as being especially bad in cultured meat. “If you grow meat using a serum that is infected with disease, you can transmit it to people,” he told me.

Despite the FDA’s recommendations, however, FBS is still widely used because it’s the most convenient. There are alternatives—People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has a list of 74 potential cell culture alternatives, but almost all are cell-type specific. Of the alternatives that can be used as universal growth media, platelet lysates are most used, but they come with their own issues—at least when it comes to making cultured meat.

Platelet lysates are made from the platelets that can be extracted from human blood samples. Because of the incredibly strict requirements on the blood used in human blood transfusions, the FDA expires blood five days after it is donated. Oftentimes, when it expires, rather than throwing it out and wasting a perfectly good sack of blood, a lab will turn it into platelet lysates and sell it as a serum for cell culture. That makes platelet lysates a great alternative for human research. But it can’t be used for cultured meat because, as van der Valk pointed out in wonderfully understated fashion, people may be hesitant to consume meat that was created from human blood. He does, however, “see [platelet lysates] as an in-between step” in going from using animal products to using completely animal-free sera. And, according to Bruce Friedrich, director of the Good Food Institute, all companies working on cultured meat will have to find alternatives to FBS, because it will no longer practical to use the serum once the product scales.*

Hampton Creek will attempt to create a cultured meat that relies on plant products instead of animal-based products like FBS or human-based products like platelet lysates. Will customers eat it? Four years ago, Daniel Engber argued in Slate that cultured meat just didn’t taste right and that people wouldn’t eat it because of that. Another major hurdle is human psychology—Engber made the prescient point that people think stuff grown in labs is weird, asking, “Why wouldn’t lab-grown meat be attacked with the same degree of holy venom?” Still, the fact that it won’t make use of extracted fetal cow blood could certainly be a selling point.

Correction, July 13, 2017: This story originally misstated that Hampton Creek is the only company attempting to make meat without fetal bovine serum. Other companies are also attempting this. It also has been updated to note that companies may soon have to find alternatives to FBS. (Return.)

Time to Play: What's in YOUR Soap? | Crunchy Betty

Time to Play: What's in YOUR Soap? | Crunchy Betty

Crunchy Betty

Ladies and gentleman, it's time to play ...WHAT'S IN YOUR SOAP?The winner of today's game will receive $100,000 and a trip to the finals for a chance to win ... a chicken! (The $100,000 is imaginary and the chicken is a metaphor for a deep sense of gratification.)Okay, ready?If your soap says "Pure Castile" what does it contain?

Whisky Beard Balm DIY

by Anne-Marie Faiola @ Soap Queen

Facial hair requires its own particular care and maintenance. Without extra moisture, the skin underneath can become itchy, flaky, and dry. Beard oil and balms help promote healthy facial skin, as well as keeping beards soft and full. This Whisky Beard Balm is incredibly easy to make. The majority of the balm is comprised of our Beard Oil […]

The post Whisky Beard Balm DIY appeared first on Soap Queen.

Are Diets Just Placebos?

Are Diets Just Placebos?

by Erik Vance @ Slate Articles

For years, nutrition experts have been trying to figure out the best diet for people who want to lose weight and have more energy. They haven’t been terribly successful. Very few innovations in that field have lasted (beyond eating less and exercising more). Of course, that hasn’t stopped us from trying: There’s the Atkins diet, the all-cabbage diet, the morning-banana diet, the werewolf diet, the Israeli army diet, the Master Cleanse, the Zone, the charcoal cleanse, the alkaline diet, and the baby-food diet, and (my favorite) the Hollywood cookie diet. There’s even a diet that says you will eat less and shed pounds if you just plug your nose while you eat.

While all of these make impressive claims, science has shown again and again that dieting just doesn’t work in the long-term. Most people either don’t lose the weight or see it boomerang right back (for others, the result of dieting is an eating disorder). But still, we cling to diets because we think they will work—or because often, for a short time, for some of us, for that friend-of-a-friend, they do.

Hear this article on Slate Voice! 

If no diet has turned out to be a silver bullet for weight loss, then what could explain why some of them at least seem to work, at least for some time? In looking at our rampant dieting culture, I realized that there are a lot of elements that remind me of the placebo effects we see in other parts of our lives. And this got me thinking: Perhaps it’s not the contents of the diet that matters. Perhaps it’s simply the act of dieting. Is it possible that, rather than the specifics of the food regime you undertake, it’s the mere act of starting a diet—any diet—that makes you thinner? Could it be that the inherent placebo effect that comes with any diet is what’s causing you to lose weight?

The connection between brain chemistry, eating habits, and weight is nothing new. Our decisions to eat are based on brain chemistry, and the results of those decisions tend to affect our size. We know that stress hormones generated by dieting and other forms of starvation affect how our bodies process fat. Some studies even suggest that deficiencies in certain mood-moderating brain chemicals shape which junk foods we prefer: People with low dopamine crave sweets, those lacking the neurotransmitter acetylcholine crave fat, and those without serotonin try to eat all the starch they can get. So brain chemistry and metabolism are intimately linked.

But could the act of believing that what we are eating will cause weight loss actually be enough to trick our bodies into shedding pounds? It’s a provocative idea but a hard one to test. The tricky thing about placebo effects is that the best way to measure them is through a little, well, trickery—give someone an inert pill, make him think it’s something else, and measure what effect his own beliefs had. I’m not exactly sure what a placebo cookie would look like, but we do have some data from the emerging science of weight-loss medication that can offer an interesting starting point on weight-loss placebos. There are a number of prescription weight-loss drugs on the market, such as orlistat, liraglutide, and sibutramine (which has since been removed because it caused strokes and heart attacks—and, bizarrely, increased appetite). All of them carry side effects and shouldn’t be considered diet pills, but all of them had to pass Food and Drug Administration placebo-controlled trials, too. And while they all out-performed placebo pills, people in the placebo arm still lost an average of five pounds or so over a few weeks or months.

Now, many of these studies merged the drug with calorie limitations, and just the act of counting calories tends to make people eat less of them. But still, five pounds is enough room for some kind of placebo effect. Similarly, weight-loss supplements get measured against placebo controls (though not as often as they should). In those cases, few if any of them outperform placebos—but people in the placebo arm also lose weight.

So there’s enough circumstantial evidence around diet pills and supplements to think that placebo diets are at least possible. But supplements and drugs aren’t really diets—what would happen if you convinced someone she’s on a diet even though she’s not? The few studies that have been able to devise a true placebo arm for diets have been riddled with bizarre effects, like one Australian study that tried to determine if nonceliac gluten sensitivity is a real thing. In it, subjects reported feeling worse for all kinds of nonsensical reasons, including going from placebo wheat to more placebo wheat.

But as I said before, the best placebo studies involve a little trickery, and thank God a few scientists are willing to go there. The landmark study comes from Alia Crum at Stanford. As a grad student, Crum did an experiment where she found that just telling hotel workers how much exercise they were getting at work could have positive effects on their health. So in 2010, she took the next logical step. She passed out two types of milkshake—a 620-calorie version and a 140-calorie one, complete with labels that claimed they were either indulgent or diet—to two separate groups. As one might expect, the people’s gut chemistry behaved very differently depending on which shake they got, with their hunger hormones (which are also involved in metabolism) dropping much more with the fatty shake.

Except the thing is that she lied—both the shakes were 380 calories. In other words, their bellies responded not to what they were eating but to what they thought they were eating. The following year, a team at Purdue told patients they had invented special solid foods that turned to liquid once in the stomach as well as liquid foods that turn to solid. Some people got actual solids and liquids while others received the magical stomach-changing kinds. Of course, they were actually the exact same meals, and all had the same number of calories.

Naturally, people could feel the nonexisting transformations. The nontransforming-liquid drinkers were all quickly hungry, while the people drinking the “liquid-to-solid” said things like, “I could barely swallow the liquid it was so thick,” “I am so full I can barely finish the glass,” and my favorite, “It came out like a solid, too.”

Meanwhile the people eating the real solid could barely finish them all while those eating the “solid-to-liquid” said, “It hardly feels like I ate anything,” “It feels like I drank a bunch of liquid,” and “It immediately went away when the cubes turned to liquid in my stomach.”

Giggle all you want, but can you really be sure that given the same situation you wouldn’t feel exactly the same thing? The subjects in an experiment like this aren’t chosen because they are morons; they’re chosen because they are us.

But here’s the stranger bit: Their bodies’ physical chemistry responded accordingly, too. The people who thought they were eating liquids passed them through their systems like liquids. Their hunger hormones, insulin, and other metabolic hormones fell in line with what they expected, not what they ate.

A similar study showed that key brain regions respond similarly to SoBe Lifewater as a Ben & Jerry’s milkshake, as long as the beverage was offered up with the word treat. Another, announced just days ago from UC–Berkeley, showed that rats that can’t smell gain less weight after eating exactly the same amount of food than rats that can (maybe the nose-pluggers are on to something). No wonder scientists have begun calling our stomachs “the second brain.”

Sadly, there aren’t really a lot more studies picking away at how belief affects dieting, though the Stanford team says more are on the way. The problem, says one scientist who works with Crum, is that most of this work floats between nutrition, psychology, and marketing research, and no one is lining up to pay for it.

There is one more link between placebo effects and dieting: Most placebos (though notably not all) are temporary. And, as so many dieters have learned to their dismay, so are the effects of radical fad diets. As few as 1 percent of dieters will keep the weight off permanently.

All of this reminds me of another hugely popular and powerful industry that trades in fantastical, trendy, and ultimately often temporary health solutions: alternative medicines. I’ve written a book about alternative medicine, and I have nothing against them as long as they don’t damage your body, checkbook, or endangered species. It’s important to remember that like the supplements market, the dieting industry is almost totally unregulated. The kind of diet you create and sell to others is only limited by your imagination. Which makes it more important for consumers to understand how much they might be relying on the placebo effect to impart actual benefits.

There’s plenty more to study when it comes to how our brain understands eating and how our bodies respond to the context around it. Eating is not just a physical act; it’s sensual, cultural, and communal. Does the stomach respond similarly in people who truly love food versus those who see it as just fuel? How are we influenced by the attitudes of the people we eat with? Some of the newest placebo research suggests that placebos can be enhanced by peer pressure. (In one experiment, just knowing people experienced pain relief from a drug correlated with other people feeling unusually high placebo effects.)

Lately, I’ve had the chance to see this in my own life. Recently, at the behest of several family members, I cut gluten out of my diet. It’s my first real diet, and yes, I am aware that gluten is not necessarily bad. But I’ve also felt a little like I’m joining not just my family, but a tribe of gluten-free people across the world, and I’ve dropped about 15 pounds. I have to say that the science is pretty strong that I am just experiencing a placebo effect.

But in the end, do I really care? Sometimes belief is as good as the real thing.

How to Label Cold Process Soap - Soap Queen

How to Label Cold Process Soap - Soap Queen

Soap Queen

This is the second post in my series on how to label your products. In the first post I explained how to label lip balm including how to list your ingredients using the proper terms in the correct order. As I mentioned in that post, this is just the bare minimum; there are so many …

New Lincoln Hy-Vee Location

by cash3p @ 18th Street Soap Company

For all of our friends in Southeast Lincoln, 18th Street Soap is now available at the Hy-Vee at 7151 Stacy Lane in Lincoln (70th & Pioneers).  Hy-Vee will carry Lavender Chamomile Mint, Pink Himalayan Salt, D-Tox, Shea Butter Face Bar, Oatmeal Almond, Brambleberry Sage and Walk in the Woods. 

The post New Lincoln Hy-Vee Location appeared first on 18th Street Soap Company.

Dove Purely Pampering Body Cream with Shea Butter & Warm Vanilla (300ml)
Dove Antiperspirant Spray Deodorant For Women 150 ml ( Pack of 10 ) + Our Travel Size Perfume
Dove Antiperspirant Deodorant Silk Dry, 48 Hr., 150 ML (Pack of 6)
Dove Body Wash, Deep Moisture Pump, 34 Ounce, (Pack of 2)
Dove Silky Nourishment Body Cream 10.1 oz
Dove Purely Pampering Body Wash, Pistachio Cream with Magnolia, 16.9 Ounce / 500 Ml (Pack of 3)
Improved Formulation Go Fresh Dove Anti-Perspirant Deodorant Spray Grapefruit & lemongrass Scent (6 Can)
Dove Men + Care Face Lotion Hydrate + 1.69 OZ - Buy Packs and SAVE (Pack of 3)
Dove Purely Pampering Body Wash, Shea Butter with Warm Vanilla, 16.9 Ounce / 500 Ml (Pack of 3)
Dove Men + Care Clean Comfort Spray Deodorant & Anti-Perspirant 150ML / 5.07 Oz,(6 Pack)
Dove Invisible Solid Deodorant, Original Clean - 2.6 oz - 3 pk
3 Pk. Dove Gentle Exfoliating Body Wash with Nutrium Moisture 16.9 Oz
Dove go fresh Revive Antiperspirant/Deodorant, Pack of 4, 2.6 Oz each
Dove Advanced Care Invisible Solid Antiperspirant deodorant 4ct(2.6oz x 4)
Dove Men+Care Elements Antiperspirant Stick, Minerals + Sage 2.7 oz, 4 Count
Dove Original Anti-Perspirant Deodorant 48h Spray 150 ml / 5 fl oz (6-Pack)
Dove Go Fresh Anti-Perspirant Deodorant Spray 150ml Grapefruit & lemongrass Scent (1 Can)
Dove Daily Moisture Shampoo and Conditioner 12oz Combo SET **Package May Vary**
Dove Go Fresh Cool Moisture Fresh Touch Body Wash Cucumber and Green Tea 16.9 Oz / 500 Ml (Pack of 3)
Dove Anti-Perspirant Deodorant, Sensitive Skin 2.60 oz
Dove Men Plus Care Body Wash, Deep Clean, 13.5 Ounce (Pack of 3)
Dove Beauty Cream Bar Soap, Go Fresh Revive, 100 G / 3.5 Oz Bars (Pack of 12)
Dove Men+Care Deodorant Stick Clean Comfort 3 oz(Pack of 3)
Dove Go Fresh Pomegranate & Lemon Verbena Deodorant Spray 150 ml / 5 oz (6-Pack)
Dove Go Fresh Body Wash, Revitalize, Mandarin & Tiare Flower Scent, 16.9 Ounce / 500 Ml (Pack of 3)
Dove Weightless Moisturizers Smooth and Soft Anti-Frizz Cream, 4 Ounce (113g)
Dove Clinical Protection Antiperspirant Deodorant, Original Clean, 1.7 Oz (Pack of 3)
Dove Clinical Protection Antiperspirant Deodorant, Cool Essentials 1.7 Ounce, (Pack of 2)
6 Pack Dove Cotton Dry Anti-Perspirant Deodorant Spray 48 Hour Protection 150 Ml
Dove Go Fresh Restore Beauty Bars, Blue Fig and Orange Blossom Scent, 4.75 Oz (Pack of 12)
Dove Invs Sold Pwd Size 2.6z Dove Powder Invisible Solid Antiperspirant Deodorant
Dove Men + Care Antiperspirant & Deodorant, Cool Silver 2.70 oz (Pack of 4)
Dove Advanced Care Antiperspirant, Clear Finish 2.6 oz, 4 Count
Dove Ultimate go fresh Cool Essentials Anti-perspirant/Deodorant, 2.6 Ounce (Pack of 4)
Dove Advanced Care Anti-Perspirant Deodorant, Revive 2.6 Oz (Pack of 3)
DVO2979401 - Moisturizing Gentle Hand Cleaner
Dove Original Spray Deodorant Anti Perspirant 150 Ml 5.07oz (Pack of 3)
Dove Men+Care Antiperspirant Deodorant, Sensitive Shield, 2.7 Ounce (Pack of 4)
Dove Hair Therapy Daily Moisture Conditioner, 40 Fl Oz
Dove Go Fresh Beauty Bar Soap, Cool Moisture, 6 Count
Dove Go Fresh Cucumber & Green Tea Deodorant 48h Spray 150 ml / 5 fl oz (6-Pack)
Dove go fresh Beauty Bar, Cucumber and Green Tea 4 oz, 6 Bar
Dove Deodorant 2.6 Ounce Adv Care Anti-Perspirant Sensitive (76ml) (3 Pack)
DOVE Winter Care Nourishing Body Wash 24-Ounce - 3-Pack
Dove Invisible Dry Anti White Marks Antiperspirant Deodorant, 150 Ml / 5 Oz (Pack of 6)
Dove Winter Care Beauty Bars - 14/4oz
Dove Men + Care Dry Spray Antiperspirant, Clean Comfort (Pack of 4)
Dove® Beauty Bath Shower Gel Indulging Cream 16.9 Oz / 500 Ml
Dove Men + Care Body + Face Bars Aqua Impact - 6 ct
Dove Go Fresh Cool Moisture Body Wash, Cucumber and Green Tea Pump 34 Ounce (Pack of 2)
3 Dove Nourishing and Restore Body Wash 500ml/19.9oz (3X 500ml/16.9oz, Purely pampering-Almond cream with hibiscus)
Dove Advanced Care Deodorants, Cool Essentials (2.6 oz., 3 pk.)
Dove Nutritive Solutions Daily Moisture, Shampoo and Conditioner Duo Set, 40 Ounce Pump Bottles
Dove Men + Care Body & Face Wash, Sensitive Shield 13.50 oz (Pack of 3)
Dove Go Fresh Revive Anti-Perspirant Deodorant Stick for Unisex, 2.6 Ounce
Dove Men + Care Extra Fresh Non-irritant Antiperspiration 5 Pack
Dove Invisible Dry Anti White Marks Anti-Perspirant Deoderant
(Duo Set) Dove Damage Therapy Intensive Repair, Shampoo & Conditioner, 12 Oz. bottles
Dove Men+Care Body and Face Wash, Clean Comfort 18 oz
Dove Damage Therapy Daily Moisture Shampoo, 2.8 Pound
Dove Men Care Non-Irritant Antiperspirant Deodorant, Extra Fresh - 2.7 Ounce (5 in Pack)
Dove Nutritive Therapy, Nourishing Oil Care, DUO Set Shampoo + Conditioner, 12 Ounce, 1 Each
Dove Men+Care Post Shave Balm, Hydrate+ 3.4 oz (Pack of 2)
Dove Beauty Bar, Pink 4 oz, 14 Bar
Dove Original Beauty Cream Bar White Soap 100 G / 3.5 Oz Bars (Pack of 12) by Dove
Dove Shave Gel Sensitive 7 oz. (Pack of 3)
Dove Cotton Soft Anti-Perspirant Deodorant Spray Dry 48 Hour Protection (Pack of 6) 150 Ml by Dove
Dove Clinical Protection Anti-Perspirant Deodorant Solid, Revive 1.70 oz(Pack of 2)
Dove Shampoo, Dryness & Itch Relief 12 oz
Dove Body Wash Deep Moisture 24 oz, Pack of 3
Dove Purely Pampering Body Wash, Coconut Milk (24 fl. oz., 3 pk.)
Dove go sleeveless Antiperspirant, Beauty Finish 2.6 oz, 2 Pack
Dove Beauty Bar, White 4 oz, 2 Bar
Dove Men + Care Revitalize Face Cream Lotion 1.69oz (Quantity 1)
Dove Oxygen Moisture Shampoo and Conditioner Set 12 Ounce
Sensitive Skin Unscented Moisturizing Cream Beauty Bar By Dove, 12 Count 4 Oz Each
Dove Beauty Bar, Sensitive Skin 4 oz, 6 bar
Dove Regenerative Nourishment Shampoo and Conditioner Set, 8.45 FL OZ each
Dove Purely Pampering Shea Butter Beauty Bar with Vanilla Scent Soap 3.5 Oz / 100 Gr (Pack of 12 Bars)
Dove Antiperspirant Deodorant, Powder 2.6 Ounce, (Pack of 6)
Dove Body Wash Deep Moisture 24 oz, Pack of 3
6 Cans of Dove Men+Care Invisible Dry 150ml Anti-Perspirant Anti-Transpirant Spray
Dove Clinical Protection Antiperspirant Deodorant, Cool Essentials 1.7 oz
Dove Sensitive Skin Nourishing Body Wash, 12 Ounce (2 Pack)
Dove Men+Care Body Wash, Extra Fresh 23.5 Ounce (Pack of 2)
Dove Men + Care Face Wash, Hydrate, 5 Oz (Pack of 3)
Dove Men+Care Body Wash, Extra Fresh 13.5 oz, Twin Pack
Dove Hs Srength/Shine Xho Size 7z Dove Hs Srength/Shine Xhold 7z
Dove Dry Shampoo Refresh and Care Volume and Fullness, 5 Ounces, 3 Pack
Dove Men+Care 2 in 1 Shampoo and Conditioner, Fresh and Clean 25.4 oz
Dove Sensitive Skin Unscented Hypo-Allergenic Beauty Bar 4 oz, 2 ea (Pack of 2)
Dove Men + Care Body & Face Wash, Clean Comfort 13.50 oz ( Pack of 3)
Dove Men + Care Fortfying Shampoo+conditioner 2 in 1 32fl Oz
Dove Go Fresh Cucumber & Green Tea Scent, Antiperspirant & Deodorant Stick, 1.4 Oz / 40 Ml (Pack of 4)
Dove Body Wash, Sensitive Skin Pump, 34 Ounce (Pack of 2)
Dove Body Lotion, Cream Oil Intensive, 13.5 Ounce (Pack of 3)
Dove Damage Therapy Cool Moisture Shampoo (12 oz) and Conditioner (12 oz)
Dove Go Fresh Antiperspirant & Deodorant, Cool Essentials - 2.6 oz - 2 pk
Dove Go Fresh Antiperspirant Deodorant, Restore, 2.6 Ounce (Pack of 2)
Dove Men+Care Body and Face Bar, Deep Clean 4 oz, 6 Bar
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