Essential Oil Safety: Chemist Reports Adulterated EOs Sold as Pure at Walmart
Gurunanda's Pure EO and Diffuser Kit
On November 6, 2015, WalMart recently began offering the "Gurunanda 100% Pure Essential Oils with Diffuser" package at stores nationwide.
Social media promotions by Gurunanda, distributor of natural products for a healthy lifestyle, explain that this product is only available at WalMart stores through the holidays.
The combination kit comes with an electric diffuser plus two 1/2 oz bottles labeled "100% pure essential oils;" one lavender, one peppermint. The kit retails for $19.99.
How Low Can You Go?
That price raised eyebrows for professionals in the essential oil industry, who began to take a closer look at what the kit contained. This week, chemist Dr. Robert Pappas of Essential Oil University says he decided to test the kit's lavender oil using Gas Chromatography/Mass Spectrometry (GC/MS), a method of chemical analysis that identifies different substances in a test sample including the constituents of essential oils. His published findings are noted in the following chromatogram photo:
Explanation Included in Chromatogram Comments
Dr. Pappas comments:
The chemical profile is not consistent with that of true lavender essential oil. The presence of large amounts of 1, 8-cineole, camphor and borneol are indicative of a lavandin base oil being used. Several indicators for adulteration with synthetic aroma chemicals were found including dihydro-linalyl acetate which does not occur in nature and is an indisputable marker for synthetic linalyl acetate addition.
Adulterated and diluted essential oils sold as "100% pure" are a growing concern for consumers who seek out pure quality oils for an array of health benefits not offered by synthetic mimics, fragrance oils, and air fresheners used to simply scent a room. The cost of pure essential oils and extraction ratios from some plants at pounds per ounce often contribute to hidden adulterations and dilutions throughout the industry's chain of distribution.
Dr. Pappas has stated he will test the other oil in the kit, peppermint, within the week.