By Martin Watt

Safety: Amazon say: “The Product Safety Team at Amazon works to protect
Amazon customers from risks of injury associated with products offered on
Amazon by looking into and taking action on reported safety complaints and
Yet, when you try to find out how to report a safety issue it is
like looking for a needle in a haystack. Amazon are careful to avoid giving
email addresses and you need to sign up for an account to be able to
contact customer services!!
See the links at the foot for more.

Recently I was sent an email by requesting I put a link on
my website to their site promoting essential oil sales via Amazon. So I then
followed the links to the suppliers featured on Amazon. It was horrifying that
essential oils with known hazards were being sold by these Amazon shops
without any or inadequate safety warnings. In addition, the referring blog site
above lists every oil as “therapeutic grade”. There is no such thing as a
therapeutic grade essential oil, this is just marketing hogwash!!

The blogger above is giving incorrect and potentially dangerous information on
her site and in a book. She admitted that this information had been gleaned
from online sources. That admission justifies my statements in other articles
about these people who have no training and no knowledge about products
they promote.
I informed her that most such sources were of doubtful merit
and some were giving dangerous information. She then tried to defend herself
by saying that it was “down to suppliers to give safety information”. This
blogger is also recommending essential oils that have never been subjected to
formal skin safety tests. She also lists mustardoil but fails to say if she
means distilled mustard or the infused cooking oil. Distilled mustard oil burns
the skin and is banned by most if not all aromatherapy organisations.

Please readers do not rely on blogger websites for information on
essential oils
. Many of these sellers on Amazon are amateurs who often have
no training in anything to do with essential oils. Anyone that sells essential oils
should have the authoritative data about essential oil safety which has been
available for years.

A few examples of the lack of knowledge, or not caring about safety, of
sellers linked to by Amazon shops:

1. On I noticed on the shelf life of most of their oils it was
claimed to be “two years”. That is fundamentally incorrect unless antioxidants
have been added to their oils, particularly with citrus and pine type oils. If you
see a supplier claiming a two year shelf life for citrus oils then beware, they
either do not know or do not care about major safety issues. They might be
relying on their suppliers for such information but that in turn means their
suppliers either do not care or are also ignorant about what they are selling.
All large wholesalers who supply aromatherapy outlets have known of
these safety issues for many years.
Therefore, such errors as the above on
a web site can indicate someone who is buying via small resupply outlets.

In the UK it has been the law for years that any customer requesting safety
data must be supplied with it. In the USA most of the larger aromatherapy
outlets will provide data sheets if asked and some even put MSDs on their site
for downloading. Therefore a supplier unable to provide such information is
likely to be an amateur and much smaller than their flashy web site suggest.

2. A company Are based in France and are making illegal
medicinal claims about what their oils can do, but of course most USA
customers (their target) have no idea about EU medicines laws. Some smaller
French oil suppliers have ignored EU medicines laws for years and no action
has been taken by their Government.

Bergamot expressed: nothing about its severe photosensitizing properties.

Bitter Almond oil they say nothing about it being one of the most toxic
essential oils. Any reputable supplier would only sell the variety that is free of
prussic acid. With this company you have no idea what they are selling.

Sandalwood has the botanical name “Thymus vulgaris/L.” A typo perhaps
or just another company that buys and sells essential oils but knows nothing!

3. A USA company states “Essential oils have been
used since biblical times” and lists numerous biblical references in order to
mislead their customers. The statement is incorrect; the references in the bible
are to infused oils or more often the use of the herb. Such language indicates
someone who has been fooled by the lies told by multi level sales scammers.

4. Calamus oil sold by a company in the USA called No
mention of the safety issues of using this oil and the fact that the reputable
safety authorities in the fragrance trade severely limit its use in products to
less than 0.01% which is way below anything that an aromatherapist or
natural perfumer would use it at. Yet it is classified further down their page as
“suitable for Bath & Body”.

There is nothing about the concerns of Calamus oil being carcinogenic. Of note
may be that while this oil is still on the Amazon shop site, if you go to the
company site they no longer seem to sell essential oils. This oil is promoted as:
“Calamus is used to promote cerebral circulation, and to help manage a wide
range of symptoms including neuralgia, epilepsy, memory loss and shock”.

The medicinal uses given are the traditional ones for the herb, not the
essential oil. Some of these claims are also illegal in the USA.

It is so disheartening that the efforts made over many years by myself
and a few others on the safe use of essential oils have been made all
but worthless by bloggers and sellers on Amazon.
There are examples of
essential oils being promoted that are the most dangerous known and have no
safety warnings. There are many such blog type sites run by people who know
next to nothing about essential oils but that have direct links to Amazon just
to make money from clicks to ads or suppliers.

I despise marketing that puts sales above all other considerations. These large
corporations top managers/owners have some kind of psychiatric malady which
pushes them to make cash without any consideration of public safety or people
being ripped off. Their only interest is the company share price, nothing else
matters. Most advertising agencies in the world have now got this mind set.
They will dream up to most misleading ads all to capture the gullible and
particularly the young gullible.

Illegal sale. This is clearly a problem for Amazon because the laws on that
vary around the world. However, Amazon safety staff should have a knowledge
of concerns published by reputable International journals. In particular they
should have data where Government organisations have created laws banning
or restricting essential oils from public resale.

Inadvisable sale. There are several essential oils that aromatherapy
associations advise their members not to use. For example cinnamon bark,
costus, verbena, expressed citrus oils, etc. There are other oils that reputable
International organisations ban or restrict in cosmetic products due to known
dangers. You will find most of these oils available on Amazon.

Unethical sale. A common get-out among suppliers of dangerous oils is that
they claim to “just sell the oils and what people do with them is up to the
individual”. Certainly essential oils are used in a wide spectrum of trades but
that said most sellers on Amazon are targeting the general public. On Amazon
shops only rarely do you see warnings about certain oils. The supplier may give
warnings on their packaging but how many people read the small print.
Instead they assume if the item is on Amazon that it must be legal and safe.

If Amazon had any real concern for public safety they would insist that
all suppliers submit provable referenced safety data before they allow
them to sell via their shops. Any large trader with such huge cash
assets should have staff that would check into claims made for the
products and safety issues. The public buy from them assuming what
their approved traders sell is fit for use. Clearly that is not the case
with Amazon. Remember the thousands of hover boards that had to be
withdrawn due to batteries exploding? One would think that such an
event would prod them into upping their safety reviews departments.

It is interesting to note that Amazon were fined $350,000 by The U.S. Federal
Aviation Administration for breaching packaging regulations on a drain cleaner
that spilled. Nine UPS employees had to be treated for chemical burns. The
agency is continuing to investigate Amazon's compliance with hazardous
shipment rules.

Complaints: There are thousands of complaints against Amazons customer
services to be found on the Internet. They seem to have outsourced that
activity to countries where the agents command of English is so poor people
get frustrated trying to make them understand the nature of the problem. I do
not know if the same has happened with the safety department but if it has
been outsourced it would explain a lot. I have not dealt with Amazon for years
after my own poor customer experience. I hope my readers know what course
of action to follow!

For more customer complaints see:

Source and copyright:
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Advice on the safety issues of using essential oils