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Video #1 - Amazing Kids Award - on A-Channel TV Special Feature - click here to watch...

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Magazine Articles - click on any picture to see full article

Alive May 2003

Know the Skin You're In

by Joseph Borkovic

Your skin relects your lifestyle choices.


Alive June 2003

It's a Guy Thing

by Jacob Bond

Who says skin care is just for women?



Alive July 2003

Skin Care Through the Ages

by Joseph Borkovic

Fighting the effects of time.


Alive August 2003

Universal Skin Care

by Joseph Borkovic

Discover the best way to care for your skin naturally by determining your skin type.


Emma Organics: Responsible skincare with Earth Spirit

by Jessica Skropanic September 2007


Western Living

August 2007

12 year old Zachary Borkovic's journey into eco-entrepenuership

by Adrienne Dyer


Focus May 2007


Zachary Borkovic – eco-warrior

Story by Adrienne Dyer


OCA - CONSUMER GROUP DEMANDS INVESTIGATION -Formal Complaint Against Avalon Natural Products Filed



A guide to safe, chemical-free skin care and cleaning products


Seeking organic bliss in a jar of cream

Globe & Mail (July 20, 2002)

Fears of chemicals in beauty products fuels a
trend toward 'natural' alternatives


July 20, 2002

Globe & Mail


Oregon Tilth

Organic Beauty Is Only Skin Deep-

Personal Care Products do not yet Comply With The National Organic Program.


Ten Reasons to go Organic



tree hugger




Article from The Organic Advisory Line 1998

True Ecology



Organic Trader makes bid to save Montreal Canadiens hockey team

MONTREAL CANADIENS PURCHASE OFFER made by Organc Trader ™ Canada & EcoTerre Distribution™ to save the oldest professional hockey team from leaving Montreal!


Clean and green
Former hockey player heads down
the eco-beauty product path





The first ten reasons below are reprinted from Grow Organic No. 102 October-December 1997 Excerpted from an article by Sylvia Tawse in Delicious, April 1994 and CROPO Issue 23, July,1995.

1: To Protect Future Generations
"We have not inherited the earth from our fathers, we are borrowing it from our children" -Lester Brown. The average child receives four times more exposure than an adult to at least eight widely used cancer-causing pesticides in food. Food choices made now, determine your child's future health.

To Prevent Soil Erosion
Soil is the foundation of the food chain in organic gardening. In conventional farming, however, the soil is used more as a medium to hold plants in a vertical position, so they can be chemically fertilised. Soil structure is neglected and the top-soil is washed or blown away.

3. To Protect Water Quality

Water makes up two-thirds of our body mass and covers three quarters of the planet. Pesticides and other chemicals widely contaminate ground water and rivers and pollute our primary source of drinking water.

4. To Save Energy
Modern farming uses more petroleum than any other industry. More energy is now used to produce synthetic fertilisers than to till, cultivate and harvest crops. Organic farming is still based on labor intensive practices such as hand weeding, green manure and cover crops instead of chemicals.

5. To Keep Chemicals Off Your Plate
Many pesticides and herbicides were registered long before extensive research linking them to cancer and other diseases could be established. They are poisons designed to kill living organisms and can also harm humans. In addition to cancer, pesticides are implicated in birth defects, nerve damage and genetic manipulations.

6. To Protect Farm Workers

Farmers have a much larger risk than non-farmers of contracting cancer. Farm worker health is also a serious problem in developing nations, where pesticide use can be poorly regulated. An estimated one million people are poisoned annually by pesticides.

7. To Help Small Farmers
Most organic farms are small, independently owned family farms of less than 100 acres. Many family farms have been lost this past decade. Organic farming could be one of the few survival tactics left for family farms.

8. To Support A True Economy
Although organic foods might seem more expensive than conventional foods, conventional food prices don't reflect hidden costs such as pesticide regulation and testing, hazardous waste disposal and clean up and environmental damage. If the hidden environmental and social costs of chemically-produced conventional produce were added to that produce, it would be more than double the price of organic food.

9. To Promote Biodiversity

The conventional farmer uses monoculture, the planting of large plots of land with the same crop year after year. This approach leaves the soil lacking in natural minerals and nutrients, which have to be replaced by chemical fertilisers in increasing amounts. Single crops are also more susceptible to pests, making farmers more reliant on pesticides. Insects have become genetically resistant to certain pesticides and despite the increased uses of chemicals, crop losses are increasing. Organic farmers encourage natural predators on their farms and are content with a smaller harvest. They also practice crop rotation to add health and energy to the soil.

10. For A Better Taste
Organic farming starts with the nourishment of the soil, which leads to the nourishment of the plant and, ultimately, our palate. Ask the many chefs who prefer to use organic foods.





Seeking organic bliss in a jar of cream

Fears of chemicals in beauty products fuels a
trend toward 'natural' alternatives


July 20, 2002

Globe & Mail

Fears of toxic substances in conventional beauty products are leading consumers to seek out grooming aids with claims to being "organic." Reports such as Not Too Pretty, released last week by U.S. environmentalists and listing levels of phthalates in 52 brand-name cosmetics, are fuelling the trend. The chemicals, plastic softeners widely used in deodorants, hair sprays and especially nail products, were withdrawn from infant teethers in 1998 after consumer pressure.

While cosmetics companies say the amounts of phthalates used are perfectly safe, the Centers for Disease Control are conducting their own study on exposure levels, to be released this fall. "When you pick up a cosmetics bottle, there's a list of chemicals," Bryony Schwann, a member of one of three groups that funded the study, told The Los Angeles Times. "Women don't have any idea what those chemicals do. How would they know about phthalates when they're not even labelled on the bottle?"

Just like the legions of consumers buying organically grown vegetables in the hope of avoiding pesticides, cosmetics buyers are increasingly choosing products that bill themselves as "fresh," "pure" or "organic." "It has become very trendy," says Christina Tudor, natural body-care buyer for Whole Foods Canada in Toronto, the recently opened northern outpost of the upscale U.S. healthy-food chain. "People care now about what they are putting on their skin."

Organic Style magazine, launched last year, documents the vogue among Hollywood starlets and the upwardly hip, for everything "natural" -- from yoga, juicing and hemp clothing to eco-friendly housing and soy drinks. And they're willing to pay a premium for it. Health magazine, a U.S. monthly with a circulation of 1.3 million, recently published the results of a survey showing that 63 per cent of women would spend extra money on a product if it said it were "natural" or "organic."

But Canadian labelling laws mean that both of those terms are often virtually meaningless. In this country, a beauty product can call itself "natural" if just 1 per cent of its ingredients are plant-based, Health Canada spokesman Andrew Swift says. And, since the listing of ingredients on cosmetics is not required, the remaining ingredients could be anyone's guess. In Britain, laxity over cosmetics labelling has led the Soil Association -- a U.K. organization that certifies organic food and farming -- to create its own certification program for health and beauty products, although involvement is voluntary. No equivalent program exists so far in North America.

Instead, we are increasingly seeing products like Almay's new Organic Fluoride Plus Nail Care line. The Revlon-owned company uses the term "organic" simply to indicate that is a "healthier" alternative to traditional nail-care products, spokesman Mike Muyal says.

How? Because it doesn't contain toluen and formaldehyde, both toxic chemicals widely used in nail products. A kinder, gentler alternative perhaps, but "organic" implies something quite different. The rush to cash in on the natural trend has inspired its own backlash. Kim Erickson, author of the recently published Drop-Dead Gorgeous (Contemporary Books), is sharply critical of the cosmetics industry's continued use of chemicals that are known to cause health problems. Her book contains a "nine deadly ingredients" list of chemicals commonly found in beauty products, including lead (used in hair dyes), propylene glycol (a major ingredient in antifreeze that is linked to dermatitis and kidney damage, used as a moisture-carrying ingredient) and talc (which can cause lung irritations and is used in body powders and antiperspirants).

But she is equally scathing about so-called enlightened chains such as The Body Shop. According to Erickson, the chain's "naturally inspired" products are barely distinguishable from those of conventional cosmetics companies: Ingredients such as sodium laureth sulphate, a detergent and common skin irritant, is found in many of the company's soaps and shampoos. The Body Shop counters that the levels it uses are perfectly safe for consumers, a view echoed by McGill University's Joe Schwarcz.

The director of the Office for Chemistry and Society says the organic beauty movement is a gimmick to sell more products. "There's no reason to believe that anything organically grown is more significant than anything technologically assisted," Schwarcz says. "Nature is not benign. There are a lot of toxic substances in nature. The whole idea that there are a lot of dangerous chemicals in cosmetics is just bunk. The cosmetics industry does a lot of testing to ensure its products are safe. Sick and dead people do not make good customers."

But chemist Charles Friedman, who oversees development of Burt's Bees natural body-care and cosmetics line in Durham, N.C., says there is a qualitative difference between synthetic ingredients and the natural products that are similar to what humans produce from their own skin. "All Burt's Bees salves, balms, lotions, creams, butters, cleansers and treatments contain either -- or combinations of -- fatty acids, glycerin, triglycerides [vegetable oils], and wax esters [jojoba oil, beeswax, carnauba wax, candellila wax, lanolin]. The bottom line is that our products feed the skin because these ingredients are compatible with the skin."

But don't call them organic. Friedman says the limited availability of certified ingredients would make it difficult to produce a purely organic line. Still, sales of the company's new cosmetics collection, which includes appealing shades of lipstick, blush, eye shadow and pressed powders with prices ranging from $30 to $18, are soaring. "When one considers that the average lipstick user can ingest close to four pounds of lipstick in her lifetime," Friedman says, "we offer a welcome natural alternative."

Often people don't seek alternatives until they experience health problems. Brian Phillips, owner of World Salon in Toronto, went natural after contracting dermatitis from the chemicals he was handling daily as part of his job. After discovering that other staffers were also getting sick, Phillips banned perms from the salon. He introduced plant-based hair dyes after reading a University of California report linking hair dyes to bladder cancer. "Beauty shouldn't kill you," he says.

Jean Eng founded Toronto's Pure + Simple salon after a personal journey to address the effects of an adolescence plagued by acne. At 48, she looks about 20 years younger -- and with radiant skin. In addition to selling her own line of private-label products, Eng screens other brands claiming to be natural or organic before they enter her salon. She is part of a larger movement in the salon industry to offer alternative beauty treatments as part of a more conscious approach to what we consume.

Ivana Knezevic, an Eastern European chemist who recently opened Serenissima, a European-style apothecary in downtown Toronto, sells face and body products that she has created herself from all-natural ingredients. She says even the preservatives are natural, which means the products have a shelf life of two to three months. Knezevic's pharmacology training was plant-based, and she believes that natural is better for you. "We have a synergistic relationship with plants. Our chemistry is closer to theirs than to anything you would create in a test tube."

Above material Copyright (c) Bell Globemedia Publishing Inc. and its
licensors. All rights reserved.








A guide to safe, chemical-free skin care and cleaning products
Kevin Farrow $24.95 pb Publication: Lothian Books, March 2002 you know exactly what you are putting on your skin?

"History will look back on our generation with amazement. We are the first society to have chosen commerce over health. While other societies have poisoned themselves, few have done so knowingly and none have done so with such abandon and recklessness."
Skin Deep

After extensive testing and product comparisons, the author clearly recommends the organic products in the Organic Formulations line.
- an endorsement that passes screening compared to a detailed scrutiny by the Spanish Inquisition.

This book is more than your cosmetic code breaker - it's a complete expose of the toxicity of chemicals in common skin care, cosmetics and household cleaning products found in Australian homes. It highlights the lack of accountability of the manufacturers and the complicity and self-interest of Government in refusing to regulate dangerous common chemicals.

As Kevin Farrow shows in SKIN DEEP the chemicals contained in widely-used beauty products such asmoisturisers, shampoos, nailpolish, deodorant, fragrances, eye-shadow and lipstick have been show to be variously toxic, carcinogenic or to induce skin irritations and allergies.

Consumers are becoming increasingly aware of the lack of regulation in the manufacturing of many of our everyday products. The drive is underway to increase accountability.

Just who does monitor the safety or otherwise of cosmetic and cleaning products? - the terrifying answer is no-one!

As shown by the response to the program done on SKIN DEEP by Channel 7 in the TODAY TONIGHT show in mid April, 2002, this question and the controversial answers covered in this book are a contemporary concern of many 1000's of Australians.

Here, then, is your guide to making informed consumer choices!

SKIN DEEP includes:

A detailed list of common chemical ingredients - their source, use and effects on your body
A list of recommended non-toxic products
A selection of recipes for homemade chemical-free products

Kevin Farrow has over 20 years experience working in alternative health, natural products and aromatherapy. His background in natural hair and skincare formulation has given him a unique perspective on the chemicals that come into our daily lives. He has consulted on natural product formulations to aromatherapy and skincare companies, chemist chains and department stores. He is currently based in Sydney where he runs The Natural Alchemist, a specialty natural skincare, hair care and essential oil shop in Balmain.

For more information contact:

The Natural Alchemist

phone Australia: 61 2 9818 1522






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