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Natural, Organic, or Green?

 

  

First of all, there is no such product that is "chemical-free.” Everything has a chemical composition: you, your pets, your home, your food, house, car, plants, animals, the earth, etc.

Take a peppermint plant for example. It is a blend of chemicals such as cellulose, water, chlorophyll, etc. In addition to those chemicals, there are more chemicals that give the plant its familiar scent (like menthone and menthol, for starters).

 

 

"Natural" chemicals are generally in reference to those found in nature, whereas "synthetic” chemicals refer to those made by combining organic and/or inorganic chemicals together, resulting in something not found in nature. Another term, "bio-identical," refers to a synthetic chemical produced in a lab or factory that is identical to one found in nature.

Let’s go back to our peppermint plant example. Menthol can be extracted from the plant, or it can be synthesized (recreated) in a lab or factory. Once it is composed, however, menthol is always menthol, with the same chemical compound, regardless if it was extracted from a plant, the ground, or created in a lab.  

 

"Green" is a broad term that some companies will be coy about and work into their marketing slogans. We use the term "Green Zone" to refer to our products that contain active ingredients that are truly natural. We also use it to reference products that don't employ toxic chemicals in and of themselves, such as our non-pesticidal traps.

Our green actives include borates (i.e., orthoboric (boric) acid) and borax, which is also known as sodium tetraborate decahydrate. Other actives we use are plant oils, including rosemary oil, thyme oil, and 2-phenylethyl propionate (PEP), a non-allergenic component of peanut oil (note that we do not use any peanut allergens in our products!).

 

 

"Organic" can be a confusing term, as it is used so broadly, and popular use typically equates it with “natural.”  The United States Department of Agriculture codified the National Organic Program (NOP) in 2000, whose core mission, simply stated, is to regulate food and other commodities that are produced without the use of synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, or additives.

To market a food product as organic it must meet the requirements of the NOP which dictates the kinds of pesticides that can be used for a product to meet the standard to carry the USDA’s organic label. Our products bearing the "Green Zone" logo have met all NOP requirements, assuming they are used properly according to the label directions. 

 

 

"Non-toxic" is another ill-defined term. Toxicologists will tell you that "the dose makes the poison," meaning that the toxicity of a substance depends on both the properties of the substance itself and the size of the dose administered. Toxicity also depends on the physiology and mass of the target organism. A small dosage of a substance might be lethal to an insect, but have little or no effect on animals and human beings.

Note that “non-toxic” is another term that does not equate with “natural.” Many natural substances can be toxic at relatively low doses, and some can even be more toxic than some synthetic substances of the same or higher dose. Maggie’s Farm products only use the term "non-toxic" for products that don't employ toxic chemicals, like our non-pesticidal traps.