In an article published recently in Personal Care Europe, Beta Analytic’s marketing specialist Haley Gershon described the value of Carbon-14 testing in the growing essential oils industry as a tool to help stop the spread of synthetic, petrochemical-derived ingredients erroneously labeled as “natural”.
Natural essential oils are made of highly concentrated plant constituents. However, when aiming for lower production costs, manufacturers may opt to use nature-identical additives containing the same chemical makeup, but from petrochemical sources rather than from plants.
Identification of adulterated essential oils is possible through the use of analytical techniques such as carbon-14 testing, which indicates whether the origin of an essential oil is natural (biomass) or petrochemical (fossil). Material derived from plant origin contains a known level of the carbon-14 isotope, whereas petrochemical-derived material does not contain any carbon-14.
With the possibility that essential oils containing synthetic constituents are labelled “100% natural,” it is necessary to use carbon-14 analysis to distinguish between pure plant and petrochemical-adulterated essential oils.
For more information, please read the article Carbon-14 analysis: natural versus synthetic essential oil, published in Personal Care Europe in September 2019.
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