Caveat Emptor

The title of this message is the Latin term, Caveat Emptor, which means “let the buyer beware.” That’s the term that popped into my head after returning to the office for afternoon hours a little while ago.

At lunchtime today Charlene and I went to a local restaurant that was having a ribbon-cutting ceremony. It was great to see the Mayor, and many other local dignitaries there to have lunch and wish the business well. I’ve been to a number of events like this since locating my practice here and I firmly believe that Rock Hill is a great community with a strong business environment, good planning and excellent leadership. Simply put it’s a wonderful place to call home.

When we arrived for lunch today, there was a greeter at the front door table with a warm handshake and a table where you could participate in a drawing by dropping your business card in a fish bowl. There were also a number of small gift items. I noticed that there were many tubes of lip balm on the table, and since I like to keep one in a jacket pocket, I gratefully accepted one.

After returning to the office I emptied my pocket and took a closer look at the product. The lip balm’s called New Belgium Citradelic™. I know it’s not right to look a gift horse in the mouth, but I like to scan the ingredients list of any products that I eat or drink – which is often not an activity for the faint of heart. Since lip balm can easily be absorbed into the body through both the skin and the mouth itself, it should be thought of as something we eat. To my dismay I found that the first ingredient was neither beeswax, mint nor an essential oil. In fact it wasn’t wholesome in any way. It’s a chemical called, Octinoxate, an endocrine disruptor that mimics estrogen and can disturb thyroid function.

I read on to see what the other active ingredient in Citradelic™ lip balm was. Unfortunately, that one is even worse than the first. It’s called Oxybenzone. Toxicology experts are concerned about that one because it has been linked to hormone disruption and has the potential to damage cells that may lead to skin cancer.

Do we really want to risk hormone disruption and cancer? Is it really necessary? Actually the answer is simply, NO! We have many choices of wholesome products without carcinogenic ingredients. At the Vitamin Depot™, where I get my family’s vitamins, they carry organic lip balms that don’t have any of that nasty stuff in them.Vitamin Depot If you have time and ambition, you can even make your own. Here are a couple of links to lip balm recipes: and

The key idea in all of this is simple, look at the ingredients in anything you eat, or that can get into your body like the lip balm does. If you see ingredients listed that you would have to be a chemist to understand, then don’t buy it! This is actually a powerful idea because we “vote with our feet,” and if we stop buying things that are full of artificial chemicals, then manufacturers will eventually learn what we want, and what we don’t want.

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One Response to Caveat Emptor

  1. Pommy says:

    Very thoughtful, interesting and helpful.

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