The following information is provided as additional information on essential oils and Geuren Alchemie products.
What to know about safety, packaging, labels and safe use of essential oils.
Check Labeling for the Geuren Alchemie leaflet and information.
Pure, natural essential oils are a wonderful gift from mother nature. They are powerful products that should be handled with respect.
When used properly, essential oils are very safe and good for health and well-being, but in large amounts can be toxic and cause a health hazard. Therefore, the proper use and correct label on the essential oil are of great importance.
Essential oils have long been sold without any kind of warning label. Regulations have been introduced to make this compulsory. Bottle labels are provided with a number of warning symbols and warning texts. From June 2015, a new system has been introduced. The GHS labeling.
What is GHS and what is REACH?
GHS (Global Harmonised System) also known as CLP (Classification and Labeling of Products) is a new global system for classifying and labeling hazardous substances and products. It is known that different countries consider the danger of certain substances to humans and/or the environment in dissimilar modes. The aim of GHS is to create clarity for users with regard to the risks associated with various substances.
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REACH stands for: Registration, Evaluation and Autorisation of Chemicals. It is a new European regulation which states that manufacturers, producers, importers and suppliers share knowledge about substances and products. The goal is to ensure that any hazardous substance coming to the market in Europe, includes ambiguous information regarding the risks for the user. These are detailed in the P and H-statements (Precautions and Hazards). The GHS label must contain at least the following information:
- Nominal amount of substance in the package that is being offered to the public
- Information about the supplier (name, address, telephone number)
- Product identification (eg. identification number and/or name)
- Hazard pictogram(s)
- Signal Word
- Hazard statement(s) (H-statements)
For example: H317 Skin sensitisation, hazard category 1 – “May cause an allergic skin reaction.”
- Precaution statement(s) (P-statements)
For example: P102 “Keep out of reach of children.”
- Additional information
The new labeling will, at first sight, seem unusual to us by the danger signs displayed, but this will be a useful source of information. It is advisable that consumers of specific substances (in this instance essential oils), are informed of the possible risks of these substances. It is an additional tool to educate the consumer as a user on the composition and possible properties of the oils.
NOTE: These warnings, however, must be understood and placed in the right context!
There are plant substances, which in small quantities are useful or pleasant, but toxic in larger amounts. Take caffeine as an example. A few cups of coffee are stimulating but drinking 100 cups of coffee in a short time may result in hospitalisation. This is more evident with caffeine in energy drinks. 1 is nice but after 5 potential heart problems are amplified with associated health issues/concerns. This is also the case with majority of essential oils. They are normally naturally strong but also natural chemicals, applied to the body can be suitable for health and wellbeing.
The real danger
The real danger of essential oil depends on the type of oil (the warnings on the label), the total quantity in the package, the storage method and the way in which it is used. Some essential oils are corrosive to the skin such as thyme oil, but others completely safe, i.e. lavender oil. Lavender oil can therefore be applied undiluted to the skin without problems. Thyme oil applied only when sufficiently diluted. Nevertheless, thyme oil, diluted in carrier oil, is used on impure skin and warts. When using essential oils, it is very important to consult reliable information from various sources.
The total amount
Irrespective of the amount (5ml or 200 liters) essential oil containers carry identical warnings. However, if a 200 liter drum bursts, this might quickly lead to a dangerous concentration of essential oil in the air, in the environment or on the skin and clothing when compared to a 5ml bottle. Eucalyptus essential oil, for example, is very explosive and has a pungent odor. In large amounts it can be very dangerous. However, in the evaporation of a few drops of essential oil in a fragrance burner or on a tissue the risk of explosion and/or inhalation is low.
Another important factor in the safe use of essential oils is the bottle lid. Some suppliers provide bottles with an incorporated dropper and this can allow the quality of the product to deteriorate sooner and the oil is easily accessible by children. It is recommended to have a violet coloured (Miron glas) bottle with a good quality closure. At Geuren Alchemie we use:
- 5ml and 10ml violet glass bottles. The violet glass bottles offer the best protection against UV, which greatly affects the quality and shelf life of the oil. Most manufacturers/suppliers do not use these high quality bottles because of their high price.
- a luxury high-quality pipette that closes well, has a very good resistance to corrosion by the oil and enables an accurate dosage. This is the standard option for oils with a low viscosity (thin oil).
- a luxurious roll-on with a polished glass ball and a high-gloss closure. The previous standard standaard child-resistant closure with tactile warning triangle (was replaced in 99% of the orders by the luxurious roll-on) is available on request.
Store essential oils preferably in a dark, cool place, out of the reach of children (irrespective of the child-resistant screw-cap).