I'm not a lawyer and I have gathered this information, below, as part
of my studies, for information purposes only. If anyone finds any inaccuracies,
or can add some information, please email
Firm Loses Lawsuit for False Claims
Aroma Vera, one of the oldest and most-respected sellers of essential oils, had its company's claims hauled into court, and they lost.
What legal issues are relevant to the practicing aromatherapist in the
The FTC, not the FDA, may have dominion over the claims of aromatherapists and suppliers.
This section, below may be worthy of a printout for reference for anyone who considers themselves an aromatherapist or supplier, anyone who makes claims about EOs.
I was doing research on another subject, and discovered
information, which I believe has dramatic impact on aromatherapy
claims. Seems there are felony prosecution ramifications to
making unsubstantiated claims. In searching The National Association
of Holistic Aromatherapy's site (NAHA),
and the Aromatherapy Registration Council (ARC)
guidelines, I find no reference to ISO 14020-14025,
which leads me to believe, again <sigh> that these two
entities are clueless on more than one important legal fronts. It
would also be interesting to see if any of the 'schools'
that teach AT are clued in to this law. I would welcome any
corrections from these organizations and/or schools, and will post
their rebuttals here.
In addition, websites, brochures, advertisements and other
disseminated to the public would come under the scrutiny of the FTC, according
to the following information:
The United States Federal Trade Commission issued guidelines
for the use of
environmental marketing claims. According to the FTC -- on which much of ISO
14020-14025 was based -- environmental advertising must be true, not
misleading, and substantiated. Unfair methods of competition in or affecting
commerce, and unfair or deceptive acts or practices in or affecting commerce are
against the law. The FTC code of regulations (Section 260, Subsection E) states
[A]ny party making an express or implied
claim that represents an objective
assertion about the environmental attribute of a product or package must, at
the time the claim is made, possess and rely upon a reasonable basis
substantiating the claim. A reasonable basis consists of competent and
reliable evidence. In the context of environmental marketing claims, such
substantiation will often require such competent and reliable scientific
The risk of making an improper environmental claim means
running the risk of
violating federal advertising regulations.
What does this mean to you? Someone who makes a claim
aromatherapy abilities without having an independent third-party certification by law
must do the following:
Specify the environmental improvement or attribute of the product or service.
Never directly or by implication suggest
an environmental improvement that
does not exist.
Never exaggerate the environmental
benefit of an attribute or of a product or
service to which a claim refers.
Ensure the information is accurate.
Ensure the information is not deceptive.
Verify they can substantiate it (that is, prove that their claims are authentic).
Use the claim in an appropriate context or setting.
State specifically and clearly as to
what particular environmental attribute the
claim relates to.
Ensure the claim is unlikely to result in misinterpretation.
Make it meaningful in relation to the
overall environmental impact of the
product or service.
Present the claim in a manner that
clearly indicates the environmental claim
and explanatory statement are read together.
Never state the claim is endorsed or
certified by an independent third-party
organization when it has not been.
What legal issues are relevant to the practicing aromatherapist in the United Kingdom?
Information can be found on these sites.
IFEAT -- International Federation of Essential Oils and Aroma Trade
Dear Readers, if you can supply me with any other information regarding consumer and legal issues in AT, please email me.