Monthly Archive for September, 2007

Off Topic – The Biggest Threat to Science

I just read a great article in Discover Magazine‘s October 2007 issue, p.66. The article is called Science Under Siege, by Jennifer Washburn.

I have not found the article on the Internet, probably because the issue – billed as The State of Science in America – is still in newstands. This is the first time I’ve seen this magazine.

The article is about threats to scientific objectivity and innovation from recent trends in research funding. It talks about such things as the effect of the Bayh-Dole Act of 1980, which granted universities and professors rights to federally funded research; how private funding sources often hide unfavorable research results; how moneyed interests stir up doubt and spur controversy to stave off the negative effects of troublesome facts on business (a method apparently pioneered by the tobacco industry); and how “[s]cientific advisory panels are frequently filled with experts who have close financial ties to the same industries that manufacture the products they review.”

Over the years, I have witnessed the negative effects on science and medicine discussed in this article. The article makes a pretty good case for the underlying causes, and the urgency of restoring integrity in science.

Not an allergic reaction to detergents

Eczema from detergents – per – is caused by how detergents affect skin membrane permeability and function and is not a true IgE-mediated allergy to detergents. In fact, very few people (if any) have a true allergy to detergents, most detergent allergies are actually allergies to product enzymes and additives. Sodium lauryl sulfate, known to be highly problematic for people with eczema, is a detergent analog of a surfactant our bodies make and use to regulate membrane permeability, among other things. I’m not sure we even could be allergic to it in the true sense; again, the eczema comes about from how it affects the skin membrane.

Thus you could not test for detergent reactivity with traditional allergy blood tests. Initially I sometimes used the word “allergy” in regards to this reaction, with some justification, but it’s not a true allergic reaction to the detergents themselves.


Oxygen-based bleach recommendation

Natural Choices makes a good oxygen-based bleach product called Oxy-Boost Oxygen Bleach. (Please note that not all of their products are non-detergent.)

To contact Natural Choices Home Safe Products 1-866-OXY-BOOST and .

I have no connection with this company, but I use this product and like it a lot. My only caveat is to be careful when using this product with very dark blue fabrics. I experienced color transfers to other fabrics that didn’t happen without this product. I expect this isn’t much of a problem since most people would never use any kind of bleach with dark blue, but if you do, simply don’t mix the blues with anything else – the product doesn’t seem to fade the colors much, it just seems to sometimes facilitate transfer of some blue to other fabrics if the load is mixed.

More Bar Soaps

As I wrote in an earlier post, I have recently tried dozens of bar soaps. The prospect of sharing that experience is somewhat daunting. I share my own personal opinion; the experiences of others will depend on factors like skin type, individual sensitivities, individual needs, even local humidity. My experience will not be everyone’s.

I have done my best to determine that each of these products is a true soap, but as I recommend on the site, always, always check first.

Because I tried so many soaps, I am going to split this feedback into several posts, and sort the soaps into broad categories only:

A) Bar soaps I liked the best: neutral, relatively non-drying, but still left the skin feeling clean, even soft and neutral.

B) Bar soaps I thought were pretty good and neutral, but didn’t make my A-list for one reason or another, such as leaving a lot of soap residue on sink surfaces, having an overwhelming perfume, etc.

C) Bar soaps I found moisturizing that perhaps didn’t leave the skin feeling as clean as I would like.

D) Bar soaps I personally found too drying to use regularly. (Note that some of these are very popular soaps; individual experiences will vary. I list them here to provide as many choices as possible.)

Since I’ve already posted some of my A-list, I’ll start with a few choices in

Category B:
Bar soaps I thought were pretty good and neutral, but didn’t make my A-list for one reason or another.

Canus Goat’s Milk Soap, Naturally Rich Moisturizing
Johnson’s Baby Soap Bar
Skin Milk Bath Bar
Fruits & Passion French-Milled Soap Fieldberries
Green Tea Herbal Soap by Earth Therapeutics
Savon Deluxe Almond and Oatmeal

A special comment on the last two products: both would have made my A-list except for two reasons: strong or unusual scents and the fact that both are exfoliating products with hard granules in them. That’s a problem for me, but it might make the products desirable to someone else.