In the opinion of some in the aromatherapy world, cold-pressed essential oils are elite volatiles. After all, they are produced without heat and, theoretically, not subjected to potentially damaging steam. But just how pure are they, really? A recent study of citrus essential oils suggests that most brands may not be as “pure” as many of us would like to believe.
For this study, researchers analyzed 49 citrus essential oils and looked specifically for evidence of pesticide contamination. And they found what they were looking for–in every single sample.
On average, say scientists writing in the journal Analytica Chimica Acta, 17 pesticides were found in each sample with a total concentration of more than 5 mg/L. One sample actually held 39 identifiable pesticides with a total concentration of more than 51 mg/L.
Even organic essential oils were contaminated, researchers claimed, although the contamination was markedly lower. The organic volatiles these scientists tested turned up with an average of 4 pesticides each and a total concentration of 0.087 mg/L.
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