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Please, check out this compelling article on how the Cosmetic, Toiletry and Fragrance Association (CTFA) is approaching the misinformation ‘wars’ in the United States.  I am thinking the CTFA has a pro active and probably effective long term approach to articles appearing on a regular basis in the media such as the one that just appeared in the National Post on our own Natural Health Products (NHP) (see Susan’s August 6 post, Just the Facts Please!).  What an incredibly weak response from our own Canadian Health Food Association (CHFA).  ‘Oh, my, did the horse already leave the barn …? I thought shutting the door would keep him in that darn old barn.’   Get a grip on the issue being discussed, please. 

The issue that needs to be addressed is not maintaining a wide choice of products (or maybe it is long term) but rather misinforming the public on what non-reporting of a negative reaction actually means.  Just out of curiosity, why do we even accept a premise that states:  there is potential danger (harmful consequences) from something that is never reported?  Could non-reporting a negative reaction be interpreted as very very few negative reactions?  Is that a possible interpretation?   I mean if no one reports a car crash in the city of Toronto for one month … would that be considered a good thing? … or a bad thing?  Could you interpret the non-reporting of car crashes to mean that there were simply no car crashes?

Forgive me, but… <sarcasm>We could, given the motivation, produce a study that states the non reporting of car crashes actually means that the amount of memory loss as it relates to head injuries in car crashes went up dramatically during this period of non car crashes.  This evidence is supported by a study based on 75% of all respondents who participated in the study when asked if they remembered the car crash that did not happen said “no they did not remember the event”, proving that memory loss is related to the non reporting of car crashes.</sarcasm>  Does this make sense?  Absolutely, it makes as much sense as the article in the National Post that blares the misleading headline “Natural Remedies, ‘potentially harmful’”. 

Anyway, we as a group are really making a mess of the NHP industry when it comes to positive press.  I wonder if we could take the lessons learned and do better with the Natural Cosmetics Industry.  The battleground for the Natural Cosmetics Industry is now being defined.  We lost the battle for “Parabens”.  A bogus study of six people that had no basis in scientific fact changed and destroyed an entire segment of our industry.  And people still believe that parabens in cosmetics are harmful.  They are still duped!  PARABENS IN COSMETICS SIMPLY ARE NOT HARMFUL.  PERIOD.  In fact (this is a nice piece of information):  IN FACT, THERE HAS BEEN MORE HARM CAUSED BY NOT USING PARABENS THEN BY USING PARABENS.  There is a potential for death by non-use of parabens.

Moving on:  do you think it might be worthwhile coming up with a long-term communications strategy.  What do you think?  Time to check to see if the horse actually is in the barn before we shut the door?  We might want to see what the CTFA is contemplating.  At least they have a plan.

“The tools of communication and their research have multiplied, from YouTube and blogs to RSS and podcasting. The good news is that these tools are available for our use as well in getting out the facts about our products and ingredients to consumers.”

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