Cancer from Vitamin A in Your Sunscreen?


We like to let you decide whether you believe there is too much hype, self-interest, manipulation or scare tactics involved in cosmetics today? With also the organic certification confusion going on, we believe one must look carefully to all sides; not let fanatics getting their way but also not the giant cosmetic industry players who become more powerful these days and get themselves even involved in regulation matters as well. Let us know what you think?

Cancer from Vitamin A in Your Sunscreen?

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) in their annual sunscreen report states that retinyl palmitate (a form of vitamin A) in sunscreens is linked to skin cancer and tumor growth. The FDA was implicated that risks with retinyl palmitate and skin damage was something they were aware of yet failed to warn the public about.

Here some highlights you must know:

  • The safety and efficacy of registered sunscreen products have been tested by regulatory authorities throughout the world. There is also an extensive body of research supporting the safety and efficacy of sunscreen actives.
  • Daily use of sunscreen rated SPF 15 or greater is recommended by the FDA and the American Academy of Dermatology, the Skin Cancer Foundation and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.
  • Sunscreens are regulated as over-the-counter (OTC) drugs and must undergo pre-market approval that involves rigorous scientific assessments according to FDA standards.

EWG’s sunscreen assertions

  • EWG’s statements against sunscreens are in conflict with scientific and FDA safety assessments of sunscreens. This includes scientific and regulatory bodies in Europe, Canada and several other countries.
  • According to the Personal Care Products Council, the EWG has its own method for calculating how much protection a sunscreen provides based on scientific methodology that has proven to be inaccurate and unreliable by sunscreen experts around the world.

Is vitamin A going to give you cancer?

  • Retinyl palmitate is approved by the FDA as a food additive, as an over-the-counter (OTC) drug and a prescription drug. To achieve premarket approval the FDA requires extensive and rigorous testing.
  • Retinyl palmitate has been shown to offer sun protection and is a potent antioxidant.
  • In vitro (test tube) research showed that pure vitamin A (retinol) has a mutagenic effect on cultured skin cells but the studies did not involve the use of a sunscreen.
  • Vitamin A is an antioxidant that breaks down in the presence of sunlight generating by-products that can potentially cause damage. This is how antioxidants work to protect your skin from the greater source of damage, which is sunlight—and it’s precisely why daily sunscreen use is essential!

Conflict of Interest?

The EWG recommends a very small percentage of sunscreens only available from links from their site.

Paul Penders Herbal Sunscreen SPF22 contains an organic herbal extract while sun protection comes from ethyl hexyl methoxycinnamat (occurring naturally in balsam and cinnamon leaves), titanium dioxide (naturally occurring mineral), vitamin E and vitamin A (retinyl palmitate).
Paul Penders Herbal Sunscreen SPF22 was thoroughly tested even by the Korean FDA and scientifically proven to provide safe broad spectrum protection from harmful sun rays.

Journey to Vanamoolika – Part 7

The word ‘paradise’ means different things to different people. To me, it means a place where people live beautifully and in peace. Where they can feel positive about themselves and the environment. A place where they have the ability to do what is best for mankind; without worries about religions, money, time tables, ego and selfishness. A natural environment for all that is good.

In this respect, I worry about the state of mankind. This concern gives me the ammunition to do what we do at Paul Penders Company.

Father Joseph and Paul

This last week I have experienced paradise, as it should be. I had the enormous privilege of meeting and talking with Father Joseph Chittoor, a true visionary and humanitarian, and wondered why he never got the Nobel Peace Prize.

I was thinking about my 2 aunts who were devoted nuns in Holland and both artists as well. They were offering me their convent to do “animal tests” on them for 6 months in hopes of convincing the Dutch Government that animal testing was cruel and inhumane. 60 truly devoted nuns were waiting for me each day for the cause in hopes of ending animal suffering in Holland. And finally they won, as Holland was the first country to legalize no-animal tests for cosmetics.

With that in mind I hope that Father Joseph Chittoor will be seeing more results from what he started 20 years ago. His vision to empower women who had nothing, the daughters of the woods, in a rural area in India, giving them the tools to take care of themselves and their families. Now 375 of them own Vanamoolika and when I was there their songs of prayer had quite an emotional impact on me. I have made the commitment to support the work of Father Joseph Chittoor.

Dr. Deepa Chirakkal

I was a guest of his creation and I cannot remember anything over the last years that have gripped me as Vanamoolika and “the daughters of the woods ” has. This charitable organization that they proudly own and that is supported by Indocert certifying their lands as organic and all of their products as a result. The Ayurvedic plant medicines are now accepted and they own their own GMP manufacturing unit.

They looked at me as a foreigner from another part of the world that could help in their growth, to help more daughters of the woods in more parts of India.

One of these daughters became a licensed and professional Ayurvedic doctor and heals though their own produced plant medicines, yoga, and meditation and Ayurvedic treatments.

Paul Penders Company has made a commitment to them. It will be for many years to come and it will involve lots of devotion, sharing of knowledge and happiness for all involved. Together with Joji we have formed a Paul Penders India company that will guide, assist and train the daughters of the woods in being more effective in their work. We will send over our own R&D people and we will assist in exporting their beautiful organic Ayurvedic products to many countries, including China, Europe, USA, Saudi Arabia, Australia and more.

We will set up a travel agency EcoBio Wellness Tourism Club where people from all over the world will be able to go to Vanamoolika – stay there for a week, get medical Ayurvedic consultations and ancient treatments such as yoga, meditations, and Ayurvedic massage.

Ayurvedic Massage Center

Visitors will be fed some of the most delicious vegetarian (and some non vegetarian) foods coming from Vanamoolika’s own gardens. They will stay on 15 acres of land with rolling hills, and a true jungle of medicinal plants and trees. They will stay in cottages made from the wood of 3o different medicinal trees. Even the beds are made from 30 different medicinal trees! I can guarantee you, when you wake up in the morning you will feel refreshed and wonderfully energized.

Joji, as part of Paul Penders India, will help to further develop the training programs for the daughters of the woods, strengthening their work with certified organic cultivation of herbs, plants, fruits and trees producing them into Ayurvedic medicines. The one and only Ayurvedic system given by the Acharya that originated 5,000 years ago. Increasing their GMP factory will bring more financial means, helping expand the vision and work of Father Joseph and all 375 daughters.

The Paul Penders Company has donated their first automatic filling machine for filling cosmetics that are proudly produced in Malaysia. Cosmetics that will now contain 22 certified organic herbs lovingly cultivated and harvested by the daughters of the woods. All of these herbs certified organic by Indocert, the government certifying body associated with NOP (National Organic Production, USA) . Paul Penders Company is donating a website for them as well.

Thank you Vanamoolika, the future will be good and the vision of Father Joseph Chittoor will be executed!

Related posts:

Part 1 Love-Labor & Determination
Part 2 Meeting Fr. Joseph Chittoor, a visionary Priest
Part 3 The President of Vanamoolika
Part 4 A Gorgeous Ayuredic Doctor
Part 5 Ayurvedic Massage
Part 6 Inspirational Visit to Indocert; Indian Organic Certifying Agency
Part 7 Journey to Vanamoolika

Asian markets are getting hungry for real stuff

Words like halal, ayurvedic, biodynamic are actually statements in Asia. Even the word “natural” has special meaning here because of a different cultural background. The lifestyle of people in countries in Asia seems more connected to nature than the commercialized lifestyles of most people in the west. The word “natural” is not being raped of its true meaning like in the U.S. and Europe.

Asia is certainly turning green! But not much interested in confusing regulations of few certifying organic bodies in the U.S. and Europe. In Asia people seem to think conservative but I rather use the word “pure” in stead. People seem to understand the ego, greed and competitive business few certifying bodies have become in. In Asia they look at things in mature ways and as far as I have seen rather develop their own unified certified standards for cosmetics.

Meeting at Indocert

Interesting enough I was several weeks ago a guest at Indocert (the Indian certifying body accredited by DAkks, Ecocert, USDA, etc.) I felt inspired with that visit and surprised too because of the professional, clean and kind ways Indocert goes about its business of certifications.

Compare to what happened at the last Natural Products Expo in Anaheim, California? Wasn’t this a disgrace? Of course it was. U.S. and European certifying bodies can learn a bit from the approach here in Asia.

Here some results of a recent research about how Asians think about “their” own standards regarding natural organic products and its certification process:

Here is what I think.

Whatever happens in the future in Asia, true winners are consumers looking to get true information with a cosmetic purchase. No hoopla stories of some certifying bodies. And I can say you this. With all what I saw and heard at my visit at Indocert, I believe that Asian countries may come up with the right dose of honesty.

Of course I look forward to your comments, not really like that lady from New York who recently scolded me about natural soybean oil, using words I can’t use here for thousands of people reading this blog.

I start to love Asia more and more. Talk about culture, kindness, understanding and respect… well, the certified organic game is on in Asia as well. And I am watching.

Journey to Vanamoolika – Part 6
Inspirational Visit to Indocert;
Indian Organic Certifying Agency

Paul visiting Indocert

The long journey back from Vanamoolika to Kochi was a 10 hour-fight. The road consisted of endless hairpin turns, filled with huge lorries, as it threaded through the massive mountains. If you consider the acrobatic movements of typical Indian roads, it was an exciting accomplishment to arrive in Kochi, the beautiful city of Kerala State.

In Kochi, a meeting had been organized with officials of Indocert, the Indian organic certification body. Indocert is associated with NOP (National Organic Production, USA) certification with the acceptance of conformity assessment for accreditation of certification bodies by USDA.

Meeting at Indocert

We had a meeting with Mr. Sreekumar, Deputy Director of Indocert and Mr. Praveen Kumar, the

Program Manager. Vanamoolika has strong connections with organic certifying bodies while the President of Vanamoolika himself is director of various organic farmer associations. All cultivation methods and products of Ayurvedic Vanamoolika are certified organic.

Readers of this blog are aware of several objections Paul Penders Company has against the practices of some of the certifying organic bodies. Now I had the opportunity to formerly share them at the right place. These include the high costs involved and yearly fees. We also object that Ecocert and others allow certain chemicals to be certified, even PARABENS are allowed. We strongly disagree with this.

The Paul Penders Company is at the brink of a strong cooperation with Vanamoolika, including promoting their beautiful Ayurvedic products in and outside India as well. Paul Penders Company will have its R&D and Regulatory people traveling to India soon to discuss how we can clear up the misconceptions and resolve our objections. The goal is to obtain certification of Paul Penders products. We deserve that certification as we use the best certified organic ingredients already.

Today was a good closure to an exciting trip and tomorrow we will make a summary including the exciting news ahead in supporting Vanamoolika, obtaining their wonderful herbs, and supporting “the daughters of the woods.”

Related posts:

Part 1 Love-Labor & Determination
Part 2 Meeting Fr. Joseph Chittoor, a visionary Priest
Part 3 The President of Vanamoolika
Part 4 A Gorgeous Ayuredic Doctor
Part 5 Ayurvedic Massage
Part 6 Inspirational Visit to Indocert; Indian Organic Certifying Agency
Part 7 Journey to Vanamoolika

Paul Penders Now Available in Australia

After nearly 20 years of absence, Paul Penders products are officially back on the Australian market!

Paul Penders Australia is now a part of the Perth-based company Euro Ventures who had been searching for a long time for a brand like Paul Penders.

The message that Paul Penders products represents clearly fit into Euro Ventures’ philosophy.

Euro Ventures represents in Australia a top professional healthcare company from the U.S. as well.

It took a long time and a concerted team effort of specialists to finally get Paul Penders products approved by the notorious strict NICNAS, the Australian counterpart of the CTFA in USA. But we succeeded and now a first shipment of fresh products is on its way to down under!

Euro-Ventures partners Lim and Calvin with Paul
Euro Ventures partners, Lim and Calvin, with Paul

A new website at paulpenders.com.au is produced especially for the Australian market by Redbox Studio, a web design and web strategy firm from Penang, Malaysia.

Euro Ventures found Paul Penders mentioned in The Safe Shoppers’ Bible, a comprehensive guidebook to consumers’ questions about thousands of brand-name household products, personal care products, foods and beverages.

In this guidebook – a must read for all those who value their health –  they noticed the Paul Penders brand, a natural organic cosmetics company which held strong beliefs about no-animal testing and leaving the world a better place. The information in the book resonated deeply with Euro Ventures which lead to them contacting Paul and talking about their interest in bringing our products to the Down Under market.


Calvin said they were impressed with Paul Penders products and by his philosophy.

Most fascinating is that in every Paul Penders product is their all natural herbal extract called “Essence of Life” which Paul’s grandmother pioneered.

This all natural herbal extract called  LevensESSENTIEGold™ was used in her beauty salon in Holland some 100 years ago.

Today, the principles of the same formula has been retained and turned into a patent pending LevensESSENTIEGold™ extract made from 22 Asian and Western herbs to be found in every bottle and jar of Paul Penders products.

It is no wonder that when you buy Paul Penders, you are holding in your hands a century-old beauty legacy.

Calvin and Lim from Euro Ventures soon met Paul  and  were enthralled with the brand’s sincerity and philosophy.

Calvin says, “Seeing how passionate and enthusiastic he was about his organic products, we were keen to share his products and philosophy with our fellow Australians. This is how Euro Ventures, a Western Australia company registered with the Government Department of Health and Ageing – NICNAS – became the country’s exclusive distributor for Paul Penders in Australia.”