Posts Tagged ‘Esther Lok’

Shocking Truths About Tampons & Pads

August 13th, 2012

The mucosal lining of the vagina is one of the most absorbent areas of the body, yet women expose themselves to a variety of harmful chemicals through the use of tampons every month.


Tampons & Sanitary Pads

On average, a woman uses over 11,000 tampons in her lifetime.

Most tampons that are sold in the stores are chlorine-bleached and made from 100% rayon or a mixture of conventionally grown cotton and rayon.


Rayon is a synthetic fibre derived from wood pulp that is commonly chlorine-bleached to make it fully absorbent. Surfactants are also used in tampons to increase absorbency.

These super absorbent fibres absorb not only the menstrual blood, but also normal vaginal secretions resulting in dryness of vaginal tissues.

The fibres can also become embedded in the vaginal walls and amplify the production of Toxic Shock Syndrome Toxin which causes Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS), a potentially fatal illness.


Chlorine bleaching of the wood pulp produces dioxin. Research suggests that dioxin is an endocrine disrupting chemical that mimics oestrogen and disrupts hormonal function within the body. It has been linked to immune system suppression, breast cancer, reproductive and developmental problems. 

For a comprehensive article on the effects of endocrine-disrupting chemicals, check out the Endocrine Society Scientific Statement. You will be shocked by what you read! 

Dioxin pollution also poses a serious environmental problem as it is found throughout the environment worldwide in varying levels. It accumulates in the fatty tissues of animals and humans for decades.

» Read more: Shocking Truths About Tampons & Pads

10 Tips on How to Avoid Harmful Preservatives in Your Diet

July 30th, 2012

Preservatives are used to prevent bacteria, yeast and mould growth, preserve colour and flavour and keep food from going bad by preventing oxidation.

It can be hard to avoid preservatives as they can be found in almost any type of food or drink.

There are many natural preservatives such as salt, vinegar and sugar, but most of the preservatives used by food manufacturers are synthetic. 


Cheese & cheese productPotassium Sorbate (202) is used to prevent mould growth in foods such as cheese, cheese based products, yoghurt, wine, dried meat, pickles, apple cider, dips and many herbal dietary supplements.

In a study done in Turkey, potassium sorbate was found to be genotoxic to the human peripheral blood lymphocytes in vitro (ie: causes damage to the DNA).



Carbonated drinksSodium Benzoate (211) is used in carbonated drinks, oral medications, mouthwashes and added to acidic foods such as pickles, fish and oyster sauces, salad dressings, jams and fruit juices to enhance their flavour.

Even though sodium benzoate is found naturally in cranberries, plums, prunes, apples, cloves and cinnamon, it does not play the role of a preservative in these fruits and spices.

Sodium benzoate has anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties. It works by entering the individual cells in the food and increasing the overall acidity of the food, thus creating an environment in which microbes and fungi cannot grow and spread.

When mixed with vitamin C, sodium benzoate forms benzene, a known carcinogen. The rate at which benzene is formed is affected by exposure to light and heat, as well as the time spent on the shelf from production to consumption.

Some studies have shown that sodium benzoate along with artificial food colourings may increase hyperactive behaviour in some children.


Dried apricotsSulphur Dioxide (220) and Sulphites (221 – 228) are used to preserve the flavour and colour in fruits, dried fruits, vinegar, juices, cordials, soft drinks, sauces, beers and wines.

Sulphites inhibit bacterial growth, reduce spoilage, prevent browning of fresh food and help preserve medication.

Sulphites release sulphur dioxide, which is the active component that helps preserve food and medication.

According to The Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy (ASCIA), sulphites can cause allergy and hay fever like reactions, wheezing in asthmatics, occasionally hives and very rarely severe, life-threatening anaphylactic reaction. 


Bread & bakery productIn Australia, Propionates (280-283) are commonly used to prevent mould growth in bread and bakery products.

Recently, propionates are also permitted in cheese, fruit and vegetable products.

Very few people realise they are affected by this preservative as most people only notice a difference if they switch to preservative free bread.

Reported side effects include migraine, headaches, stomach upsets, skin rashes, nasal congestion, depression, tiredness, irritability and restlessness.

Bakers who keep their baking equipment clean and mould-free by wiping with vinegar daily, do not need to use propionates as mould inhibitor because a freshly baked loaf of bread does not contain any mould.

However, in large scale, commercial baking factories, hot loaves of bread are commonly put in plastic bags and this predispose to mould formation.


BaconSodium Nitrate (250) and Sodium Nitrite (251) are used in processed meat such as bacon, ham, sausages, hot dogs, luncheon meats, cured meats and smoked fish to preserve the meats and inhibit the growth of bacteria that causes botulism.

They are also used as a colour fixative to give meat the bright red colour and makes old, dead meats appear fresh and appetising.

When used for curing, nitrates react with the meat tissues to form nitrites. Nitrites can react with amines in meats to form nitrosamines, a class of potent carcinogens found in cigarette smoke.

Food Standards Australia New Zealand restrict food manufacturers from putting these preservatives in baby foods but not on foods typically consumed by many children such as hot dogs and luncheon meat.

Infants are very susceptible to nitrate toxicity as they can develop methaemoglobinemia or “blue baby syndrome.” Nitrates may convert to nitrites in the digestive tract. Nitrites can combine with haemoglobin to form methaemoglobin which lacks the ability to carry oxygen in the blood.


So, are these preservatives safe?

» Read more: 10 Tips on How to Avoid Harmful Preservatives in Your Diet

Win Whole Kids certified organic snacks & the ‘Go Natural’ book

July 22nd, 2012

Whole Kids is Australia’s first range of certified organic snacks for kids that are all natural with no junk, no artificial additives, colourings or preservatives. Adults will love them too!!


Whole Kids Snacks Pack


This Whole Kids organic pack includes yummy snacks such as:

  • 6 packs of Organic sultana
  • 5 packs of Organic apple & sultana fruit filled bar
  • 2 packs of Organic apple juice
  • 2 packs of Organic apple + blackcurrant juice
  • 2 packs of Organic apple + pear juice
  • Organic manuka honey popcorn
  • Organic sea salt popcorn
  • Organic original sea salt corn chips
  • Organic cheese corn chips


You will also receive a copy of my book “Go Natural – The No 1 Organic Handbook”.


To win these Whole Kids organic snacks & ‘Go Natural’ book, all you need to do is ‘Like’ The Organics Institute Facebook Page and write a comment underneath this Facebook post stating why you would like to win this Organic Snack Pack. You will be entered into the draw.

Closing Date:  5th August 2012 


Don’t miss out!. You could be the lucky winner of this yummy Organic Snack Pack.

The winner will be announced on The Organics Institute Facebook Page on the Monday 6th August 2012.


Please note that this prize can only be offered to people who reside in Australia.


Good luck!

Esther Lok


Disclaimer: All advice may not be construed as medical advice or instruction and is not meant to replace the advice of your medical practitioner. Information has been compiled from the author’s personal experiences and own research into multiple existing public references and previously published scientific studies. While all care is taken, information is not warranted as accurate and The Organics Institute and Dr Esther Lok cannot be held liable for any errors and omissions.


10 Tips on How to Avoid Artificial Food Colourings

July 16th, 2012

In Australia, there are more than 300 food additives which are approved for use including those synthetically made from petrochemicals. Each food additive is identified by its name and a number; and classified by the functions it performs. For a comprehensive list, click here

Additives are used in foods to replace the nutritional value and taste lost in processing, enhance their texture or appearance, prolong shelf life, stop food from decaying and facilitate the preparation of processing.

They are also used to replace ‘real’ ingredients to enhance flavour, giving extra taste to otherwise bland products and to make junk foods more appealing.



Are food additives safe?

Most of their long term safety is untested and questionable, especially the combined effect of literally hundreds of synthetic chemicals found in food.

Many have been linked to allergic reactions, rashes, headaches, mood problems, asthma, behavioural changes in children, obesity, heart disease and cancer.



Who regulates the use of food additives?

The use of food additives in Australia is governed by the Food Standards Code and regulated by Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ).

If an additive is approved for use by FSANZ, it is considered safe. However, there are some food additives approved for use in Australia when they are banned in other countries. 

Under the current legislation, manufacturers are not required to list food additives if they are present in an ingredient that comprises 5 per cent or less of the product. Manufacturers also do not have to specify whether additives are natural or synthetic on the labels of products.

Some manufacturers like to use the word ‘natural’ whenever possible to attract customers. Food additives derived from natural sources are not necessarily safer than other additives. Be aware of this when choosing food products and don’t be swayed by deceptive marketing tactics and claims of natural ingredients.


Food Colourings

Artificial colourings serve no purpose in food. They are only used by manufacturers to enhance the appearance of their products especially those marketed to children.

Would you feed yourself or your children petroleum? Do you know that artificial food colourings are made from coal tar and petrochemicals?


Food Colourings

» Read more: 10 Tips on How to Avoid Artificial Food Colourings

The Safe and Natural Way to Get Rid of Smells in Your Home – Part 2

July 1st, 2012

Here are some simple cleaning recipes that you can use to get rid of pungent odours.


Cigarette smokes

To get rid of the unpleasant odour from cigarette smoke, put ½ cup of white vinegar in each of several containers and place them around the house.

If someone in your home smokes, you can put baking soda or cat litter in the bottom of ashtrays to help absorb the odour. The best option is to have a smoke-free home.

To remove cigarette smoke in a car, soak two towels in white vinegar and put each into a bowl. Put these near the ashtray and the back seat and leave overnight.


Smelly carpets

To remove smells from carpets, sprinkle liberally baking soda on dry carpets and leave for 15 minutes before you vacuum it up. Repeat if necessary.

» Read more: The Safe and Natural Way to Get Rid of Smells in Your Home – Part 2

The Shocking Truth About Air Fresheners

June 24th, 2012

Do you know that air fresheners with synthetic fragrances do not add natural aromas or “purify” the air? They work by interfering with your ability to smell so you don’t smell anything! They also produce toxic off-gassing from synthetic chemicals to ‘mask’ or ‘overpower’ the odours.


They drown out the offensive smell by releasing chemical such as methoxychlor which coats your nasal passages with a film of oil or by deadening the olfactory nerves (which transmit signals from your nose to the brain and help you to identify smell).


Air fresheners come in many forms such as aerosol sprays, scented or aromatherapy candles, fragrance impregnated gels, plug-in deodorisers, atomisers, wick and reed diffusers and many more.


Some of the toxic chemicals that can be found in air fresheners:

  • benzene – has been associated with cancer and aplastic anaemia. According to WHO, no safe level of exposure can be recommended.
  • formaldehyde – a carcinogen (causes cancer), can also cause skin, eye, nose and throat irritation, asthma, headaches, nausea and vomiting.
  • methoxychlor – a toxic pesticide that bioaccumulates in fat cells and persists in the environment. Its use as a pesticide is banned in Australia and other countries.
  • paradichlorobenzene – also known as 1, 4-dichlorobenzene, or 1,4-DCB has been shown to cause cancer in mice. Its vapour is toxic and can cause nausea, vomiting, dizziness, fatigue, headache, irritation to skin, eyes, nasal passages and lungs. 
  • phenol – a highly flammable and corrosive substance that causes serious skin reaction.
  • phthalates – synthetic fragrances which are hormone disruptors. They are particularly dangerous for young children and unborn babies. Long term exposure to phthalates can affect testosterone levels and lead to reproductive abnormalities.
  • styrene – suspected to be a hormone disruptor, possibly contributing to thyroid problems and reproductive system dysfunction.
  • and many, many more toxic chemicals…..


Aerosol sprays used to contain chlorofluorocarbons (CFC’s) until they were banned because of the effects on the ozone layer. CFC’s had been replaced with volatile hydrocarbons such as methylene chloride, propane, n-butane and isobutene which are all flammable petrochemicals.


Scented and aromatherapy candles are usually made of paraffin waxes (petrochemical) and synthetic fragrance oils which release toxic fumes when the candles are burnt.


Most of these chemicals have not been tested for their long term and cumulative effects on human health. But it is safe to say that these chemicals represent a real risk especially to those who use them regularly and continuously, young children, pregnant women and those who suffer from allergies and asthma.



The Safe and Natural Way to Get Rid of Smells in Your Home – Part 1


A clean home really shouldn’t smell like anything. Clever marketing campaigns have programmed us to believe that a clean home should have the fragrance produced by synthetic chemicals found in conventional air fresheners such ‘pine oil’, ‘lavender’, ‘clove’, ‘jasmine’, ‘lemon’, etc.

» Read more: The Shocking Truth About Air Fresheners

Win Clean Conscience 100% natural, cleaning pack & “Go Natural” book!!

June 17th, 2012

Clean Conscience is locally made in Tasmania, from 100% natural, basic ingredients with no nasties at all. These natural cleaning products are free of palm oil, SLS, synthetic surfactants, dyes, preservatives, thickeners or fragrances. They smell beautiful and most importantly, they do a great job! We use these cleaning products in our own home.


Clean Conscience Cleaning Pack

Clean Conscience Cleaning Pack


This Cleaning Pack includes:

1)      Pure liquid soap lemon myrtle 500ml

Lemon Myrtle has a beautiful, fresh aroma and antibacterial properties.

It can be used as hand wash and all over body wash.

Ingredients: pure castile soap (olive, coconut and avocado oils), lemon myrtle pure essential oil.


2)      Multi-purpose spray lemon myrtle 500ml

It is suitable for cleaning and deodorising all areas in in your home.

Ingredients: pure Tasmanian spring water, pure castile soap, lemon myrtle pure essential oil.


3)      Creamy cleanser lemon myrtle 500ml

It can be used for heavy duty cleaning on bench tops, stove tops, ovens, whitegoods, burnt pots and coffee cups.

Use in bathroom to remove soap scum, grease and dirt from baths, sinks, shower bays and stains from toilets.

Ingredients: bi-carb soda, pure Tasmanian spring water, pure castile soap, lemon myrtle pure essential oil.


4)      Dishwashing liquid sweet orange 500ml

This will clean your dishes without leaving any toxic chemical residues.

It is soft on hands with a fresh citrus aroma.

Ingredients: pure castile soap, vinegar, bi-carb soda, sweet orange pure essential oil 


You will also receive a copy of my book ” Go Natural – The No 1 Organic Handbook”.


All you need to do to win is ‘LIKE’ The Organics Institute Facebook Page before 30th June 2012 and you will enter into the draw. You could be the lucky winner of this amazing Cleaning Pack.

As for all of our friends at The Organics Institute who have already clicked ‘like’, you will automatically be included in the draw.

The winner will be announced on The Organics Institute Facebook Page on Sunday 1st July 2012.

Unfortunately, this prize can only be offered to people who reside in Australia.


Good Luck!

Esther Lok


Disclaimer: All advice may not be construed as medical advice or instruction and is not meant to replace the advice of your medical practitioner. Information has been compiled from the author’s personal experiences and own research into multiple existing public references and previously published scientific studies. While all care is taken, information is not warranted as accurate and The Organics Institute and Dr Esther Lok cannot be held liable for any errors and omissions.



A Woman with a Conscience…..

June 14th, 2012

Here’s an inspiring story of how Tracey, a fire-fighter with debilitating multiple chemical sensitivities overcame her challenges and founded a company which now produces a range of world class, chemical-free cleaning products.


Natural Cleaning Products



I first met Tracey in 2011 when I was writing the “Go Natural” book.

I was so impressed with the simplicity of her cleaning products that I have actually stopped making my own cleaning recipes and started using hers. I was amazed at how well they actually clean and they are 100% free of toxic chemicals!

Her passion for the environment drives everything that she does. She is an inspiration to me and I hope you will be inspired by her story.

» Read more: A Woman with a Conscience…..

Your Easy Starter Guide to using Natural Cleaning Products

June 4th, 2012

Making natural cleaning products is easy once you have got all your ingredients and equipment ready. We have prepared a simple guide to get you started.


List of Ingredients:

Most of these ingredients have been used for hundreds of years. You can find most of these ingredients in your local supermarket. However, you will save money if you can source them directly from the manufacturer or wholesaler and buy them in bulk.


Natural Cleaning Ingredient

Water is the best cleaner in the world


1)   Water

  • most bacteria are killed by hot, soapy water
  • soaking is one of the most effective ways of removing dirt
  • in hard water area, add a small handful of baking soda as a water softener


2)    Baking soda

Natural Cleaning Ingredient

Baking soda

  • is a common baking ingredient
  • is a naturally occurring mineral known as sodium bicarbonate with many great cleaning properties
  • cuts through grease because it reacts with fatty acids to form mild detergents
  • softens water, removes stains and acts as a whitening agent, therefore great for the laundry
  • its abrasive quality serves as a gentle scouring powder without scratching your kitchen or tile surfaces
  • place a bowl of baking soda in the fridge to neutralise the odour



3)    Fresh lemon

Natural Cleaning Ingredient

  • one of the best way to save money on your cleaning products is to grow a lemon tree in your backyard
  • fresh lemon juice contains citric acid that can deodorize, remove stains, brighten whites in the laundry or kitchen, clean glass, inhibit mould, disinfect toilets, cleans bath edges and showers plus grouting on tiles
  • when used neat (full strength), it will remove grime at the base of taps
  • it’s fresh smelling fragrance makes it an excellent air freshener, just cut a lemon in half and leave it on the bench

» Read more: Your Easy Starter Guide to using Natural Cleaning Products

10 Tips on How to clean your home – Easily, Cheaply & Safely?

May 28th, 2012

More than 72,000 synthetic chemicals have been produced since World War II.

Most have been derived from petroleum and coal tar.


The majority of these synthetic chemicals have never been tested for their acute or long-term effects.  Neither have they been tested for their combined or cumulative effects.


Many of these synthetic chemicals have been added to our food, skincare and cleaning products without our consent and knowledge of their potential effects.


Many of these chemicals have also been dispersed widely into the environment contaminating our soil, water and air. Some will persist in the environment for decades and even centuries because they biodegrade slowly and incompletely.

 “The average home today contains more toxic chemicals than the average chemistry laboratory at the turn of the century.”

This is a scary thought but a reality in so many households.

Have a look inside your laundry cupboard, in the bathroom and underneath the kitchen sink and see how many different cleaning products you can find.

Most homes contain many more cleaning products than we really need. These cleaners not only contain chemicals that are bad for our health but also create packaging waste that is disposed in our already, overloaded landfills.

We can smell the toxins whenever we use these cleaning products. The label even warns us to wear gloves, avoid contact with skin and eyes, and not to breathe in the fumes.


We need to protect our children when it comes to exposure to toxic chemicals because:

1)    they have higher risk of exposure as they tend to crawl and play in areas that could be contaminated

2)    they also have an increased hand to mouth activity

3)    their smaller body size and developing organs are more susceptible to the toxic effects of these chemicals; damage can be long lasting

4)    they also have a reduced ability to eliminate toxins from their developing bodies as their vital organs are less matured.


10 Tips on How to have a Clean & Fresh Smelling Home?

» Read more: 10 Tips on How to clean your home – Easily, Cheaply & Safely?