[Editorial Note: This series of correspondence arose out of my finding another case of fraudulent propaganda initiated by Trevor Steyn, manufacturer of Esse Organic Skincare, Enchantrix and Naturebabes/ Tom-e Tots supposedly ‘organic’ and ‘natural’ personal care products, being a continuation of his strategy to malign all competitor’s ingredients to fraudulently promote his own products, about which he has far less to say, and when he does say, reveals a laughable double-standard, but for the fact that human beings are at the receiving end. This information is being filed here one year later as part of an ongoing Gaia Research Institute public interest exposé, since clearly nothing has changed  - its just business as usual – and thousands of infants continue to be put at considerable risk. Please see “Consumer Awareness Personal Care Toxicology: The Facts” posted here (ST)]

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----- Original Message -----

From: Stuart Thomson

To: info@naturebabes.co.za

Cc: sales@naturebabes.co.za

Sent: Wednesday, June 29, 2005 5:02 PM

Subject: Toxic Babies

Dear Elizabeth, Retha & Pat 

If you or someone responsible for the business and website would get back to me in due course regarding the principled removal from or correction of Trevor's fraud as published on the "Other Products"/"Articles" page of your site [Naturebabes], we may be able to settle this amicably.

I would suspect that the section titled "Our Organic Products" where you say: "Our range do NOT contain the following:" and subsequently: "NO parabens (used in preservatives) that mimic estrogen", "NO harsh surfactants like Sodium Lauryl/Laureth Sulphates" and "NO pore blocking petrochemicals" is intended to suggest that this fact (if indeed it is fact) is of some profound importance and as an extension of this declaration, that the ingredients listed below that (if indeed those be the only ingredients) are by comparison superior from a safety point of view.

In view of the facts presented by me in the attached series of communications (with brief introductory page) [the Biofilth Enchantricks Series (ST)] between Anthea Torr and Trevor Steyn and myself over her attempts to disseminate the untruths originating from Trevor Steyn and appearing on your "Other Products"/"Articles" page, I would appreciate your consideration on removing or correcting such misinformation and conveying your decision to me.

If you answered in the affirmative to the earlier suggestion regarding the supposed superiority/safety of your listed ingredients and decide to persist in publicly displaying fraudulent misinformation, then I believe you are setting yourselves up for a nasty shock, because the science of toxicology - in the correct context this time - indicates the contrary regarding at least one of your ingredients and your high and mighty delusion could crash-land publicly, rather than lead to a free educational module behind closed doors. 

My communication with Trevor Steyn today follows below.

I look forward to receiving your informed response in due course. 



 [Editorial Note: The letter that follows, sent the same day, was pasted into the above message. (ST)]

----- Original Message -----

From: Stuart Thomson

To: Trevor Steyn; anthea; info@naturebabes.co.za

Cc: toptotsdbv@iafrica.com; anthea

Sent: Wednesday, June 29, 2005 2:39 PM

Subject: Trevor Steyn (Esse Organic Skin Care): Crusader or Creep?

Trevor and Anthea


I wish to give you credit for coming to your senses at the 11th hour, saving you a humiliating and costly lesson in court, should you have continued to push the misinformation agenda as you originally intended. I remain disappointed at the fact that you published no subsequent corrections, but if that is your decision, then you will have to live with the knowledge that you are indeed fraud and a hypocrite.


Now that the dust has settled following your 1st round defeat around your false SLES, parabens and mineral oil propaganda, I want to take this opportunity to tell you what a cowardly little prick I think you are.

Whilst I was coming down on Anthea as editor of Biophile for publishing your fraudulent promotional propaganda (to both of your advantage) and Anthea had asked you to defend your contentions to me directly, you retreated in the face of the challenge, leaving her to take the flack. Well Mr Know-It-All, I am still waiting and I must say, for a chemistry graduate, you either have pathetically low standards of research integrity, if your actually believed in the correctness of your propaganda piece, or you lack ethical integrity for putting out what you knew to be incorrect, for commercial expediency, or worse, both apply.

I took the trouble to correct you on the science, so could you muster up the decency to tell me whether it was the research or commercial aspect that lacked integrity. I am unable to tell, since you were too cowardly to engage me, so on the basis of the evidence at hand, I am going to assume that it was in fact both aspects, and having brought this charge to you directly, reasonably assume your tacit acceptance that this is in fact so, pending evidence from you to the contrary.  I had assumed that you were just a well meaning, but badly informed aspirant journalist, but a friend recently pointed out the commercial connection between you and the Esse product range. I realise that you fell out of the e-mail loop in mid-February, so for the record, I have added the complete series of exchanges between Anthea and myself.

I have done a preliminary background search using your name and I find that you have posted your fraudulent propaganda not only on your own website, but also on those of others, so I am back to challenge you and your perhaps unwitting accomplices, to remove the misinformation or be publicly exposed as frauds. Having been appraised of the facts, you cannot at this stage claim ignorance. I am sure you are familiar with the adage "people who live in glass houses should not throw stones" and "you should not try to sweep another's porch until you have swept your own". I believe your utterances are actually more akin to "the pot calling the kettle black" and as such, you have now brought yourself under scrutiny and I don't think you realise how weak your pseudo-puritan position really is. You are hereby expressly invited to withdraw or correct (the latter perhaps a bit of a tall order) your fraudulent propaganda from public display, or face the numerous unpleasant consequences of failing to do so.

I also came across a recent article quoting you in the Sunday Tribune magazine. It all looks very noble to the uninitiated. What a pity then that its all a fraud. Hypocritically you are quoted as "being surprised at the claims your previous employers made about their products in the absence of any (scientific) backing". You throw in words like "ethical" and "expertise" and then immediately fall back on fraudulently slating ingredients not used by you and that are therefore really none of your business, rather than attending to the thousand-fold to million-fold more highly undesirable aspects of what you, with your own products, are exposing your own customers to. The article states: "Trevor's website will, from next week, contain a list of suspect ingredients to watch for". I am documenting your compounding actions and will act accordingly.

From my personal perspective, I note the use of fragile plant ingredients that ordinarily lose their biological integrity within minutes after being removed from their host cells, but no, you don't use modern science to stabilise these and prevent their degradation, you instead mix these highly oxidisable plant oils and other constituents into mini compost bins and suggest that the fraction not added to your skin on a daily basis for a fortnight be refrigerated so that this does not decompose further before your unsuspecting customer's actually spread the muck over their faces. Oh, you do use all the correct new age pseudo-religious terminology, including "anti-oxidant-rich", "organic" and "100% plant derived" and explain these as fighting the free radicals that damage the skin, all of which contributes to the feel-good factor that brings them back for more. No-one so duped into paying a small fortune for the privilege is, for a moment, going to suspect that they have seriously been ripped off...until now that is. 

The packaging concept is all good and well to a degree, with the upmarket packaged eco-friendly? mini aluminium coffins stored in the client's mini morgue, but the real truth is that the macadamia, hempseed, flaxseed and marula nut oils that dominate the products are in fact an ultra-rich substrate for the generation of trillions of times more free radicals than a skin without this rubbish would be subjected to and worse, that the rich anti-oxidants are within minutes actually functioning as potent destructive pro-oxidants in the oxygen and ultra-violet light rich environment outside of the mini compost bins arranged on their dressing-table and bathroom shelf.

The more the oils and or anti-oxidants, the more free radicals. You talk about people not wanting to put rubbish on their skins, but that is precisely what your products are reduced to, and are within mere hours, moreover, toxic rubbish, comprising breakdown-products that would put your maligned competitor's synthetic toxics list to shame.

My paper is included in the attached series, should you be concerned enough to appraise yourself of the facts and actually do something about it, like use pure natural ingredients like chemically inert mineral oil as the spreading agent, parabens as the safest effective preservative and SLES as a means to make water, the universal solvent even wetter, so that it can cleanse without the need for dubious concoctions.  


Our current truce is far from stable, so I implore you to clean up your act, lest you over-step the limit of my tolerance and force me onto the campaign trail once again. I really am sorry that you failed to meet the standards of integrity espoused by your magazine and websites, especially as far as claimed commitments to truth are concerned, but so be it. I have compiled our communications into a series, covered by an introductory page, seeing as this failed to be posted on your website as originally agreed. If I have omitted any pertinent communications, or if you have anything to add, I will consider re-arranging the series to accommodate that.



----- Original Message -----

From: <pat@toptots.co.za>

To: director@gaiaresearch.co.za

Sent: Wednesday, June 29, 2005 8:40 PM

Subject: Re: Toxic Babies

Dear Stuart
Thank you for your letter. It has caused quite a scare amongst us. I would like to respond about
 who we are.
 We are a franchise known as Toptots, we provide classes to parents and children.
 A few years ago we were approached by Retha (to whom you have also addressed your letter) to
 manufacture an organic skin care range.
 We thought it a great idea and said that since we know nothing about organic or any skincare
 ingredient for that matter, she would have to carry all costs etc and we would be happy to sell her
 products to our clients.
 We launched the range recently and have had quite a good response.
 We have been told all about the ingredients listed below and have taken the manufacturers word for
 it all.
 Were do we stand now....
 Well, I must admit that we are kind of shocked. We do not know where you fit into the picture but
 would assume that you know a great deal more about the ingredients than we do.
 What we have decided to do,  is to remove the link from our website relating to the organic range
 until; we know exactly what is going on.
 Please can you enlighten us a bit more as to what the exact problem is? Have we been marketing a
 range of toxins to our clients?
 Obviously, we are a bit in the dark here since it is only our name on the product - we are teachers
 not chemists so we would appreciate your input here.
 If you would like to contact me directly, please do.
 I look forward to your response.
Pat Rehm


----- Original Message -----

From: Stuart Thomson

To: pat@toptots.co.za

Cc: sales@naturebabes.co.za; info@naturebabes.co.za

Sent: Thursday, June 30, 2005 3:37 PM

Subject: Re: Toxic Babies

Hello Pat

Thank you for your prompt reply to my e-mail.

Whilst it was my intention to immediately draw your and the other respondent's attention to the fraudulent information on your and the Naturebabes websites, I did not mean to cause a scare, so I apologise for that. 

Thank you for filling me in briefly on the relationship between the educational and children care products aspects of what is obviously quite a tight co-operation.

At the outset, let me reaffirm that it is the fraudulent information on both websites that is my primary concern, since I know the information to be false and also from where same originates. I believe that a perusal by you of my letter to Trevor Steyn at the base of my first letter sets out my strained relationship with Steyn over the source of and subsequent dissemination of such misinformation. The hefty attachment to that first letter definitely serves to establish beyond a shadow of doubt the extent of the commercial fraud being perpetrated by Steyn and Anthea Torr. You will not have to read far beyond the first few exchanges to be in the picture.

I will however briefly summarise my concerns as having been irritated by the use, for commercial reasons, of misinformation about perfectly safe substances in the personal care products of others when properly formulated, as I have done. The extent of the embroidery and downright fabrication of scary tales around such substances is, to me, unforgivable, hence my crusade to bring the perpetrators and accomplices accept responsibility for their actions. The substances whose reputations are most abused (without justification when properly formulated) are mineral oil (petroleum distilate), sodium laurel ethyl sulfate / laureth sulfate and methyl and propyl parabens. Your webpage is disparaging of these, whilst at the same time leading to the impression that your products are superior for not using these, where in fact, the opposite might be argued, as I am prepared to do, and indeed shall do, using one example to illustrate how incorrect such a position is. 

There are peripheral issues that I may or may not get into depending on how accommodating you and Retha are, as far as my concerns are addressed. These issues include the incompleteness of the ingredient disclosures - there is no way that these products could be safe from serious microbial contamination as formulated - if disclosure was complete. Another issue is the claimed "organic" status of the range, again, on what is disclosed, the products are not organic, within the definition of "certified organic", as suggested by the reference to the "certified" raw materials and under "Why Organic". Once a certified organic material is processed, or a non-certified material added, the product is no longer organic. The bottom line is that the products are not organic and that to suggest that they are, is also fraudulent, but this is not my concern. I manufacture "natural" personal care products under the name "Gaia Organics", under the auspices of the Gaia Research Institute. I use the word "organic" only in the name, without suggesting certification and thereby clearly signify the alternate meaning of the word.

The odd thing is that had I not been attracted by the fraudulent aspects of the marketing of the products as purporting to be superior, I would have no right to be interfering in these peripheral aspects, but having been had these thereby drawn to my attention, I as a citizen have the right, indeed duty to question these, primarily as a result of having witnessed said fraud and secondarily as a concerned citizen, regarding the real potential for harm that I can clearly see as a result of marketing said products specifically for toddlers. Retha makes reference to the mentioned three ingredients used by her market competitors as though these ingredients carry serious risks and that her/your products are devoid of these or any other risks. Let me be quite clear from the outset, that this is far from the case. I note with interest that due to the absence of mineral oil, fixed vegetable oils are resorted to, including wheat germ oil and even sunflower oil. I cannot conceive of a worse choice of oils from a rancidity point of view. Oxidation from the 21% of oxygen in the air, ultraviolet light and other ingredients in the products rancidifies these oils, generating a massive chain-reaction of free-radicals and toxic substances far more scary than those relatively innocuous products so maligned on the website. See document no.11 in the previously attached series for a definitive explanation of this mechanism and the extent of the toxicity and cellular damage. 

So as you can see, one thing leads to another and now I am not only concerned about the fraudulent misinformation and other suspect marketing claims, but am now also becoming emotionally involved in considering what harm these babies and toddlers might be being exposed to by regular use of these products. As the Naturebabes website states: "Up to 60% of what we apply to our skins and to our children's is absorbed into our bodies. As much as 2kg of grime from creams, toiletries and sunscreens can be absorbed into our bodies every year."  Fortunately this is a gross exaggeration, but yes, the main source of what will be absorbed into these kiddies bodies will unfortunately be the specific toxic breakdown products of the inappropriate natural/organic ingredients comprising these products. Personally, I believe that babies and toddlers ought not to be subjected to any substance other that warm water for their cleansing needs. In days gone by, cold water would suffice, but in today's chemical world, warm water might be more appropriate, especially in colder climes. Cleansers are only needed to remove the residues and breakdown products of other unnecessary products used on the skin. The less these products are used, the less cleanser is needed, a vicious circle if the opposite applies, as will be the case with marketing these products as so safe. If a parent understood that all exposures should be limited to a minimum, then this otherwise overkill scenario would not apply. 

Gaia Organics currently makes but one kiddies product, a Happy Nappy Powder, and being a natural dry powder, this absorbs toxins from the skin rather than imparting toxins to the skin. I have for years been challenged to formulate a baby range, but have resisted the temptation for obvious reasons. I could most certainly do a better job at safe formulation than your manufacturer has done, and this because of and despite of my likely inclusion of mineral oil, sodium lauryl sulfate and parabens. Such a product range would have to be minimalist in application and hence not a money-spinner that a hyped range such as that which currently exists represents, but then I believe in service and safety before profit. I cannot dictate to you what to do in this awkward situation. That is up to you and the others involved.

I am busy preparing a report on the risks attendant to just one ingredient in many of your products, though the toxic rancidity breakdown products is in fact a far greater long-term risk, since this one product that I am focussing on is likely to trouble only the most susceptible sensitive kiddies exposed to it, trouble enough in itself as this might be. Might I suggest that you draw your manufacturer's attention to my complaint regarding the precipitating misinformation (esp that arising from the trouble-maker Trevor Steyn) and then to my document no.10 for her perusal of the detailed toxicity explanation therein as far as the breakdown products are concerned. Personally I would demand that the whole document be studied by all parties concerned. I do not for a minute suggest that Retha has knowingly formulated and fraudulently promoted the products in the way that it has been done, though, in my experience, having done so, there is an understandable resistance to accept that several serious errors have been made and that these need to be corrected. The bottom line however is that earlier ignorance is ultimately no excuse to continue as though enlightenment has not dawned. I hope that this difficult situation might result in a personal and consciousness growth experience for all concerned, and that the kiddies will be the most blessed of all as a result of our efforts. I will be content to see the results of my labour result in truth being given its rightful place as the guiding principle in the otherwise very noble venture that you and others are engaged in.

I cannot be certain that Retha is receiving these communications, since I do not know which of the addresses I have used will be reaching her, if all.

Yours sincerely




----- Original Message -----

From: Esse

To: Stuart Thomson

Sent: Friday, 01, 2005 9:50 AM

Subject: Re: Trevor Steyn (Esse Organic Skin Care): Crusader or Creep?


Thank you for your input on the potential for lipid peroxidation in the products that I formulate. Although my products were tested for peroxidation at the outset and found to be devoid of peroxides, I am in the process of testing all the products that I manufacture at an independent research facility.

I will let you know the results.



[Editorial Note: As of August 2006, ie that is more than a year later, when this web-page was prepared, there was still no communication of these results from Trevor Steyn (formulator of Esse, Naturebabes/Tom-e Tots and Enchantrix products). I will post here the moment this status quo changes and in the absence of information to the contrary, think it only fair, given that more than a year has already passed, to assume that Trevor had nothing to gloat about as far as the results were concerned. (ST)]


----- Original Message -----

From: Stuart Thomson

To: pat@toptots.co.za; sales@naturebabes.co.za; info@naturebabes.co.za

Cc: Trevor Steyn; anthea; anthea; info@esse.co.za

Sent: Monday, July 04, 2005 2:46 PM

Subject: Psedudo Organic Kiddy Personal Care Products of Known Allergenic and Toxic Potential Exposed.

Dear Pat,

As promised, attached herewith is my report on just one of the widely used Naturebabes ingredients that clearly negates their manufacturer's claims of being organic, free of petrochemicals and most importantly safe for the exceptionally vulnerable target age group and as such, renders their disparaging aspersions regarding Sodium Laureth Sulfate and other ingredients used by market competitors, myself included, a serious affront that cannot go unchallenged and exposed for the fraud that it is and the considerable potential for harm that it (Naturebabes' products) presents to infants and toddlers.

I shudder to think how many parents of young ones might have induced varying degrees of allergic dermatitis in their kids by using these products, many of which might even have reluctantly eventually resorted to the pediatrician's favourite remedy, the anti-inflammatory, yet powerfully immuno-suppressing cortisone, some possibly long term due to the general intractability of the condition once induced and especially considering that the assurances of natural integrity and safety that accompany these products might lead to these being least suspected as the cause, via some sort of article of faith that users of such claimed products ofter seem to espouse to.

I have not received word from you since my first mailing, nor have I heard from Retha, the manufacturer of said products, who fraudulently markets these in an inappropriate genre and thereby, due to the false clains of being natural, organic and safe, actually puts this very vulnerable and innocent target group at such risk.

Would you kindly revert to me as soon as possible (I think you have had a reasonable opportunity to have perused my previous attachments) and appraise me of your position in this matter. I do not wish to add your operation to my exposé action list if you are indeed innocent of the fraud at hand and are prepared to distance your operation from the dark side that I have exposed you to. The same applies to your extensive distribution list, who will be affected by your choice. Should they decide to stick it out with Retha, who by her silence on this matter, as might be expected, appears to be digging in her heels, then she and said distributors would be entered on my exposé list. I am really sorry to have to apply any form of pressure on you or anyone else, but with Retha's and indirectly also your website spreading untruths so detrimental to the legitimate operations of others, from a such a "holier than thou" perspective, I think you can probably understand my passion to correct such wrongs.

I look forward to assisting you with the way forward, if you so wish and to receiving positive word from you in this regard at your earliest opportunity.

Kindly confirm that one of the addresses above is that of Retha, and if appropriate, what your and her position is.

Yours sincerely,

Stuart Thomson 


----- Original Message -----

From: Esse

To: Stuart Thomson

Sent: Tuesday, July 05, 2005 10:06 AM

Subject: Re:


Thank you for your mail raising your concerns about cocamidopropyl betaine.

I must clarify that I use this ingredient as a co-surfactant at low concentrations. It is by no means the primary surfactant in any product that I manufacture. My primary surfactant is usually lauryl or decyl glucoside.

Both ECOCERT and the Soil Association allow the use of cocamidopropyl betaine. They both ban the use of all sulphated surfactants. I work to their guidelines and have to trust that the two largest organic certifiers in the EU have done their homework in this regard. If you disagree with this ruling, may I suggest that you take the matter up with them.

With regards to the information on the Esse website, changes will be made this week to make the site less controversial. You do, perhaps, have a point. It would be better to define the products by what they offer and not by what they don't.

I must ask you to look at the websites of the following companies. They are all international companies that are either currently represented in this country or will be within the next few months. Living Nature (I am sure that you have noticed that they have appeared in a lot of health stores over the last six months), Green People (about to be relaunched), Aubrey Organics and REN. I think that events will need to run very smoothly indeed if any local manufacturers are going to remain in the organic body care market. All of these sites have a page that they dedicate to ingredients that they find contentious.

My company is tiny and my current focus is on renewable energy in the form of wind turbines, evacuated tube water heaters and photovoltaic cells. It is my view that the personal care market will be inundated with international players in the near future and I am focussing my energy accordingly.




----- Original Message -----

From: Stuart Thomson

To: pat@toptots.co.za; sales@naturebabes.co.za; info@naturebabes.co.za

Cc: Trevor Steyn; anthea; anthea; info@esse.co.za

Sent: Wednesday, July 06, 2005 8:41 PM

Subject: Psedudo Organic Kiddy Personal Care Products of Known Allergenic and Toxic Potential Exposed.

Hello Pat

I am somewhat surprised that I have not received word from you following my previous mailings, in particular the report that I prepared for you on Cocamidopropyl betaine. I would have thought that by now some discussions between internal parties might have taken place and you would be in a position to tell me to either to do my damndest or that you are proposing some changes regarding the issues I have raised with Retha and you. If I do not hear from you soon, I guess I shall be doing my damndest.

I am even more surprised not to have received word from Retha. I assume that she is taking the cowardly approach of remaining silent so as to not negatively implicate herself further in the fraud being perpetrated. Now that you both have direct knowledge of the possible harm being done, there is in fact no backing out of the troublesome situation that Retha and yourself have created. I would encourage you both to take responsibility for your involvements, unwitting as this might have been until recently.

Another group of ingredients in Retha's manufacturing that I believe you both need to be educated on is essential oils. In short, there should be no use at all of essential oils when formulating for infants, irrespective of how many layperson's aromatherapy books claim to the contrary. These are other people's defenceless children that are being put at risk whilst their parents are exploited by hype packaging and fraudulent claims as to the nature, quality and safety of these products to infants and toddlers.

The enzyme systems of infants and toddlers are far from developed and functional to cope with exogenous toxins cutaneously entering the bloodstream, both the several synthetic substances in Retha's products and the volatile essential and oxidisable fixed oils with their potential for toxic by-products. I would think that even the National Department of Health would be alarmed at this reckless application of essential oils. I now have many serious reservations about the safety of Retha's formulations that she has so self-righteously pitched as superior to far safer options. I have prepared a second report (attached) of just one of the toxic (to infants) oils Retha has used.

I look forward to receiving word from you both in due course.

Yours sincerely


[Editorial Note: This communication contained as an attachment, a Gaia Research Institute report titled: “What is The Risk Potential of Paediatric Topical Exposures to Eucalyptus Oil in Childcare Products?available online here (ST)]

----- Original Message -----

From: debbie@toptots.co.za

To: Stuart Thomson

Sent: Thursday, July 07, 2005 9:14 AM

Subject: Re: Psedudo Organic Kiddy Personal Care Products of Known Allergenic and Toxic Potential Exposed.

Is this guy wacko? Are his facts correct?  If they are, I gather we have a slight problem, but reading the e-mails, it looks as if he is looking for attention.  I don’t know too much about the scientific ingredients of the products, but what he is saying is quite scary if it is true.

How is Retha dealing with this?  It must be rather stressful for her.

Are the lawyers actually dealing with this guy?

Chat soon

Have a great day.



----- Original Message -----

From: Stuart Thomson

To: pat@toptots.co.za; sales@naturebabes.co.za; info@naturebabes.co.za

Cc: Trevor

Sent: Thursday, July 07, 2005 11:40 PM

Subject: Pseudo Organic Kiddy Personal Care Products of Known Allergenic and Toxic Potential Exposed

Hello Pat, Retha and Trevor


Let me at the outset say that I would very much like to remove your name from the respondents addressed herein. Whilst this is largely your call Pat, I do understand that the other two have somewhat looped you and your franchisees into their fraudulent marketing mischief, so I am sympathetic to your perhaps not being sure as to how to respond further following your initial goodlwill gesture to isolate your website from the mischief. I do think that you do also understand that things have now moved somewhat further than just the fraudulent marketing mischief, since I have in good conscience raised a few issues that rather seriously concern me over and above the marketing mischief, namely the actual safety, or rather toxic potential of the products that you up till now have innocently distributed for use on a rather highly vulnerable target group, namely infants and toddlers. It is this latter aspect that ultimately prevents me from effecting immediate closure with you over this unfortunate state of affairs, even if you were to somehow successfully extricate yourself from the marketing fraud being perpetrated on Retha's and Trevor's websites. I do really wish it were not so.


Great, so now you put your rabid dogs on me. Somewhat of a joke really, since in their first attack, they resorted to little more than a lot of loud barking and served little other than to disturb the peace, and we all know how irritating that can be, especially to an already prejudiced well-meaning neighbour. Rather cowardly from your side too, given that I approached you rather directly in this matter and at that, with a rather easy solution to the then problem. As with Pat, things have, for the same reasons and more, moved on considerably since that initial diplomatic approach. Hoping that just not answering the door would suffice to turn an irate neighbour away and when this fails, letting the dogs loose, well that is just really putting your foot in the very shit your that favourite lapdog left so provocatively the pavement fronting the neighbour's domain. Now the really interesting thing is that the only defamation to date has actually arisen, or potentially so, from this third-party agent, to which I could add several charged legal expletives having no true bearing on this matter at all, other than to actually apply to you Retha, as accomplice and to Trevor as mastermind of said fraud.


Fantastic. The clot sickens! Now I am informed that you are actually far more deeply responsible for the fraud perpetrated on Retha's website than I had ever suspected, even given my suspicious nature. Well, my priority is first to try to help Pat out, then to sort Retha out and ultimately to bring you to book as the mastermind and kingpin behind this whole fraudulent scam. You have already revealed several hypocritical vulnerabilities that will receive my fuller attention in the near future. In the meantime, you know what where you have left piles of shit in the neighbourhood, that need to be properly cleaned up. If these are done properly, with due apologies to those offended and enabling the restoration of dignity to those deliberately soiled arenas, then you might be some way to having made amends for your fraudulent mischief. Your day of reckoning has just dawned and your willingness relinquish the lies and instead embrace the truth, will be the judge of what you have done and how that might rectified.

Folks, enough kak now, let's get down to it. The longer this drags on, the more I discover and will expose the self-righteous hypocrisy that alerts me to further concerns, not only the extent of the fraud, but also the potential for harm beyond mere marketing strategies to what might be actually happening to who knows how many infants and toddlers during their bathing and grooming sessions by well-meaning parents who believe that they are best serving their precious offspring, but are in fact the victins of a commerical fraud.

Incidently, here are the LD50 values for Eucalyptus oil compared to the most popular Parabens. I ran out of time and space to present these in my last report:

Eucalyptus oil Rat Oral LD50 is 2,480mg/kg body weight (Registry of Toxic Effects of Chemical Substances, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, United States, RTECS, Cincinnati, OH., 1998)

Methylparaben Rat Oral LD50 is 5,600mg/kg body weight (Cosmetic Ingredient Review Program, Final report on the safety assessment of methylparaben, ethylparaben, propylparaben, and butylparaben, CIRP, 3(5), 1984)

Propylparaben Mouse Oral LD50 is 6,300mg/kg body weight (Lewis R, Sax´s Dangerous Properties of Industrial Materials, 9th ed., Van Nostrand Reinhold, NY, 1996)

NB. There are some substances, such as eucalyptus (and tea tree oil), where humans appear to be more sensitive to their toxic effects on a g/kg body weight basis, than test animals (Regulatory Guidelines for Complementary Medicines – Part III, Therapeutic Goods Administration, 2003).

It is clear from these comparatives that Eucalyptus oil is between twice and thrice as deadly as the parabens. In fact, as I pointed out in my initially attached series: "Following chronic administration, a no-observed-adverse-effect level (NOAEL) in the rat of 5500 mg/kg is posited." Eucalyptus oil therefore is deadly at a dose at which Parabens produce no observable adverse effect. I also reported that: "Sensitization has occurred when medications containing parabens have been applied to damaged or broken skin.

Yours sincerely

Stuart Thomson

EDITORIAL NOTE: The following document was posted in response to Naturebabes proprietor Retha Botha’s lawyer’s letter which I received by fax. Not being formally served on me, I ignored the lawyers and posted this to all the previous respondents, including also the author of the fax into the list of recipients for the first time. The lawyer’s fax of demands is archived here as a scan of the original. The following Memorandum deals in response, with every single aspect, so nothing will be lost if the Scan, a rather large file, is not downloaded. Needless to say, nothing came of all the corny threats and Naturebabes too never removed the false propaganda nor made any apparent changes to protect the innocent infant and toddler recipients of their hazardous products.


Apparently there are some who think that my attempts to expose fraudulent marketing practices in the field in which I am professionally active and further, to motivate for greater responsibility amongst manufacturers and marketers in this field towards increased consumer safety, is entertainment, to some even a source of merriment, in spite of the topic being that of evaluating and attempting to reduce risk to infants and toddlers.

To those that have expressed appreciation at my efforts, I thank you. I guess I am somewhat to blame for these communications having at times come across as humorous in that I perhaps tried too hard to put Pat and her franchisees at ease over the hostile crossfire they have been subjected to this past while. Also, to those I might have offended via the use of what to some might constitute vulgar language, I apologise unreservedly.

I will attempt to summarise what is at issue here and what developments have transpired to date. Please feel free to challenge me on the facts if you deem me to have gotten anything significantly wrong or one-sided, since this exchange may at some stage serve as legal documentation, possibly as evidence in court of law. Some rather interesting facts have only now come to light via a letter of demand from Naturebabe’s lawyers.

Background Part 1

TREVOR STEYN, in BIOPHILE magazine, Issue-1 (Nov/Dec 2004), under a sectional heading “CHECK YOUR LABELS”, is credited with authorship of an article “RUB A DUB…DANGER IN YOUR TUB?” subtitled “Chemicals in your personal care products may be affecting your health”.  On the same page, appeared an advertisement for “ENCHANTRIX ORGANIC PRODUCTS”, the proprietor of which products, ANTHEA TORR, also happens to be the proprietor and editor of the very same Biophile magazine. The gist of Steyn’s tale is a fraudulent attack on the safety of SODIUM LAURYL SULPHATE (SLS), using fabricated and false (miscontextualised) propaganda designed to put competitor’s products incorporating SLS into a negative light. To quote Steyn: “SLS is used in approximately 82% of personal care products”. The “NON-TOXIC”, “ORGANIC”, “ENCHANTRIX” product advertised on the same page conveniently serves to address the reader’s dilemma. Note for later relevance: SLS is an Ecocert approved cosmetic ingredient!

Background Part 2

I, STUART THOMSON, as Director of the “GAIA RESEARCH INSTITUTE”, whose wide-ranging independent research is funded by personal care products containing target ingredients on Steyn’s fraudulent hit-list, addressed a 5-page letter (16 Feb 04) to Anthea Torr as editor of and proprietor of Biophile magazine and Enchantrix products, correcting Trevor’s misinformation about SLS, in particular providing proof of the outright lies regarding the research of Dr Green in Trevor Steyn’s article. Torr’s response was that I should “not sweat the small stuff”, but also that she would “get Trevor (Steyn) to contact you (me) directly and admitting that: “the issue is whether the information printed in the magazine is correct” and requesting that I “wait for Trevor’s information”. Well, 5-months later, I am still waiting for Trevor’s obviously pathetic defensive information. Both Trevor and all members on this mailing list have in the meantime, received approximately 100-pages of my educational communications illustrating that Steyn’s published information is not only wrong, but also largely fraudulent and that this false propaganda marketing strategy is actionable.  

Background Part 3

Whilst protesting the lies and misrepresentations in Trevor’s first article, Issue-2 of Biophile repeated the theme, this time casting unfounded suspicion on “PARABENS”, ingredients, that to quote Steyn: “are used in more than 90% of personal care products”. The sectional heading was: “READ THE LABEL”. Steyn ends his article, claiming: “Research into the effect of daily exposure to these hormone disrupters is not easily determined and it will be many years before we see any resolution on this issue. In the interim there is a strong consumer demand for products that don’t contain paraben preservatives” (created in no small part by the likes of the fraudulent propaganda emanating from Torr, Steyn and Botha. Conveniently, adverts appear on that page, not only for Enchantrix, but also for “no parabens” “ESSE ORGANIC SKINCARE”.  

Background Part 4

In the absence of convincing help from Trevor, Anthea proposed a compromise, namely an open debate in the Biophile magazine, with full record of communications archived on the Biophile website. I agreed, but the draft that was eventually submitted to me was so far from balanced editorially, in fact it contained no corrections to the previously most fraudulent information on SLS, so I had to insist that either my full contributions at that time (a few pages) be published, or none at all, at which point Anthea stopped communicating directly, as I threatened court action if what I referred to as her the “hack job” went to print. As it turned out, the article was, following considerable delay, dropped from publication, by which time the then communications, as initially provided to the members of this list, totaled some 100 pages, being some argument submitted by Anthea through a 3rd party, and my counter-arguments, in-house educational material and my considerable efforts to impart an understanding of the need to be highly specific about context and to constantly maintain a sense of relative perspective, two essential qualities that alarmists seem to utterly lack.

Background Part 5

Around the end of June 2005, with Issue-3 of Biophile on the shelves, minus a contribution by Trevor to the “Read the Label” propaganda column, I quite fortuitously discovered that Trevor Steyn is the proprietor of Esse Organic Skincare (hereafter just Esse, not least of all due to the fact that the “organic” classification is suspect. This led to my perusing the Esse website and to my conducting an Internet search for the name “Trevor Steyn”. Not only did I find Steyn’s earlier Biophile mischief hosted on the NATUREBABES website, I also discovered, via an online Sunday Tribune Magazine article, that Trevor is still up to his hypocritical self-righteous, holier than thou, fraudulent alarmist marketing tactics, namely “Trevor Steyn's website will, from next week, contain a list of suspect ingredients to watch for”. Well, Trevor I am watching and I intend to keep you mindful of the importance of truth in your public dealings. It is not a stretch of the imagination to note a cosy, unprincipled, profitable relationship between owner/editor/webmaster information selection and control and commercial success. It is my contention that in this case it is a lucrative unethical means of penetrating and expropriating market share under false pretences, in short, fraud.

Background Part 6

On discovering Trevor’s mischief on the Naturebabes website, I approached who appeared to be the senior management of the offensive site and copied all the TOPTOTS franchisees, with a view to having Trevor’s misinformation either removed from or corrected on the Naturebabes website. Only Pat, initially, responded, explaining that her organisation merely served as a sales network and that since Retha was responsible for the Naturebabes website and the products, Pat would “remove the link from our website relating to the organic range until we know exactly what is going on”, a responsible co-operative move that I did/still do appreciate. After further evaluation of the Naturebabes website, I became disturbed at not only the self-righteous double standards apparent on the site, but also the real potential for harm that this hypocrisy represented for the product target group of infants and toddlers and so I prepared reports on two ingredients to illustrate how real science could put even the seemingly most innocuous alternative ingredients in a relatively cautious light.

Background Part 7

What is really interesting to note is that whilst the responses to my concerns over said deliberately miscontextualised and outright fabricated alarmist information is generally blasé indifference, the response by the perpetrators and those benefiting from said fraudulent marketing strategy to my analysis of their suspect product self-classification and my truthful revelations regarding the allergenic and toxic potential of their supposedly superior alternative ingredients, is initially cowardly silence, followed by a letter of demands from Retha Botha’s lawyers. Also of interest is that in the course of making their demands, I am (apparently) unintentionally informed that Trevor Steyn is in fact the manufacturer of (suspect) Naturebabes’ products, but is apparently not considered a good prospect for making legal demands (one should not approach the court with dirty hands), so the pretence of injured party apparently falls instead to Retha Botha.   


The fact that Retha Botha’s lawyer’s letter of demand was merely faxed rather than correctly formally served by the Clerk of the Court and also the pathetically formulated complaint and ridiculous demands therein, leads me to the inevitable conclusion that the intention was to hopefully scare me off, with the idiotic demand that: “you (I) ‘equivocally’ retract your (my) allegations contained in the aforesaid emails (29 & 30th to this list)”.  One would expect a lawyer to know that the word “equivocal” means “two or more interpretations and usually used to mislead or confuse”, so why would I be instructed thus? Furthermore, the only specific “offensive and defamatory statements” identified, are that: “You (I) have ‘inter alia’ accused our (their) client of displaying fraudulent information”. Well, Retha Botha, Trevor Steyn and Kelvin Walker of Thorpe and Hands Inc, my contentions (not allegations as you would have it) are “offensive” only because they are legitimate and hence they cannot, by definition and the principles of law be defamatory, so why are you wasting my valuable time? If you really wish to test the merits of this case in court, it would be my pleasure to oppose the order and any unlikely action for damages, since you will then be forced to take responsibility and debate the illegitimacy of what you have done against my efforts to correct matters in the public interest. 

Not only would such a course gratefully put the issues formally under the spotlight, it would also serve to formally flush out Trevor Steyn, who even now is cowardly putting Retha in the firing line, as seems to be his modus operandi. In fact, so often is Mr Steyn is mentioned, rather than Retha Botha, that I am lead to wonder and remind myself as to precisely who the client is here. Also quite surprising is several rather serious unfounded assumptions and actionable false allegations that are leveled against me by Retha Botha and her lawyers (which latter, being a juristic body, are not exempt from charges or suit), namely: “you (I) have seen fit to drag our client and anyone else associated or concluding business with Mr Steyn into your (my) personal crusade against him”, “your (my) correspondence is clearly aimed at undermining the contractual relationship that exists between my client and the TopTots group and its various franchisees and as same constitutes unlawful competition” and “your actions are self-serving in that you (I) claim to be capable of a better job”.  Thanks guys for having put these highly contentious allegations in writing for me.

It is regrettable that at this juncture, besides demanding that I cease communication with this list of recipients and address the client only through their lawyers (demands that I will not accede to) I am informed that: “our client (which one) has no intention at this stage of entering into a debate with you (me) pertaining to the effectiveness of the skin care range in question”. Are the lawyers just sloppy or are they and the client attempting to shift the goalposts. One issue throughout my communications has been the correctness or otherwise of presented information, including to some degree that of quality (in this case “organic”) claims, but my main issue has undisputedly been that of purported product SAFETY rather than the “efficacy” issue introduced here in their lawyer’s letter to the exclusion of safety. For some unfathomable reason, reference is made to their claim that “the products in question are all formulated according to ECOCERT’s guidelines” as though this automatically imparts an acceptable degree of safety to products targeting infants and toddlers.

It is interesting, in perusing ECOCERT’s standards, that as with other so-called organics standards bodies, the underlying principles are philosophical rather than scientific and safety driven, other than adherence to the long-disproved fallacy that everything natural is safe and everything man-made is toxic. I believe my cursory analysis of just two ingredients in the Naturebabes range of products well illustrates how such guidelines can in fact lead to the manufacture and marketing of potentially troublesome and even life-threatening products to a highly vulnerable and inappropriate target group, where the vast majority of even synthetic mainstream products might actually be several orders of magnitude safer for such sensitive groups. If communicating the truth regarding the allergenic and toxic potential of two product ingredient causes such knee-jerk reactions from perpetrators and disseminators of such misinformation, should they and their lawyers not understand how much more their spreading actual misrepresentations and outright malicious fabrications might aggravate the likes of myself to put aside personally valuable time and resources to track down and expose the likes of them as the self-righteous hypocritical scum that they more often are than not.


At the end of the third paragraph in the above memorandum, I wrote to all, including Steyn and Botha's lawyers as follows: "Note for later relevance: SLS is an Ecocert approved cosmetic ingredient!", since much had been made of the fact, or supposed fact, that products manufactured by Steyn are purported to be manufactured with "Ecocert approved ingredients" in accordance with Ecocert "guidelines". If indeed this is true, then the logical question, is why are Steyn's products not certified by Ecocert as "organic"? Perhaps the products are only "transitional" organic, but if so, what is "not" organic that should be organic that precludes its certification as such? Even if it were certified, I shall explain that this means very little, if anything at all in terms of health and safety. "Feel-good factor" yes, but safety, no. Indeed the very opposite is likely to apply.

To see the full ugly story on this scam in a separate page, please click here.



----- Original Message -----

From: Stuart Thomson

To: pat@toptots.co.za; sales@naturebabes.co.za; info@naturebabes.co.za; kelvin@tandhi.co.za

Cc: Trevor Steyn; anthea; anthea; info@esse.co.za

Sent: Wednesday, July 13, 2005 6:55 AM

Subject: Psedudo Organic Kiddy Personal Care Products of Known Allergenic and Toxic Potential Exposed.

Hello Pat, Trevor, Retha, Anthea and list members

Attached is my most recent exposé in this series.

Isn't it interesting how untruth can serve as the catalyst for the emergence of truth and how thin the veiled pretence at organic safety actually is?

I note that the mischief persists on the websites in question, so perhaps a wider distribution of the truth is necessary to offset the misinformation.

I am inviting peer review input from respondents for possible correction of the texts prior to these officially forming part of the to be published "Biofilth Files".

I regret the doom and gloom nature of these communications, but manufacturers and distributors ought to be knowledgable and remain mindful of the true nature of their products, especially when making comparisons with and being disparaging of the well defined product ingredients of others.



[Editorial Note: Attached to this communication was a Gaia Research Institute report titled: “Cocamidopropyl Betaine (CAPB): How Much Do We Know About Its Safety/Toxicological Profile”, available online here (ST).

[EDITORIAL NOTE: The communications ceased around this time as I tackled new challenges. Since the false propaganda persists on the Esse, Naturebabes and Enchantrix websites a year later and these products remain unchanged to minimise, if not remove risks, I have decided, in the public interest to again pursue the topic so as to set the record straight and in an effort to save a lot of certain sub-clinical harm being inflicted on who knows how many infants and toddlers as well as likely unknown or untold illness and developmental harm being inflicted, with parents and physicians not even suspecting Cocamidopropyl betaine and Eucalyptus oil as causative agents, due to the ‘natural’ and ‘safe’ claims made for these products.  What a wicked world we live in!  (Stuart Thomson)]


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