What is “Cedar Oil” used in Wondercide™ products?
Cedar oil, also referred to Cedarwood Oil, has various physical and chemical compositions. The compositions of cedar oil are complex and vary depending on the species of trees used and the extraction process. Cedarwood oils are extracted from several members of the family Cupressaceae, which includes true cedars, junipers, and cypresses. In the US, cedarwood oil is harvested mainly from Juniperus virginiana (Eastern red cedar or Virginia cedar), Juniperus ashei or mexicana (Texas cedar), and Thuja plicata (Western red cedar). Wondercide™ products utilize Virginia Cedar and Texas Cedar as “active” ingredients. Our cedarwood oil is produced by steam distillation of sawdust, finely chipped waste wood from the manufacture of cedarwood products, and from stumps and logs.
Is Cedar Oil safe?
Cedarwood oil alcohols and terpenes are food additives considered by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to be Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS). These food additives are used as flavor enhancers, flavoring agents, or adjuvants. Cedarwood oil, in combination with other ingredients, is used as homeopathic remedies and is sold as a vaporizing ointment and topical use products.
No standards or guidelines have been set by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) for occupational exposure to or workplace allowable levels of cedarwood oil. Cedarwood oil is not listed on the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH) list of compounds for which recommendations for a Threshold Limit Value (TLV) or Biological Exposure Index (BEI) are made. Put simply, if cedar oil was considered potentially “un-safe” it would have associated regulations, standards, guidelines, and exposure limits.
Cedarwood oil is also not listed as a hazardous substance, priority pollutant, or toxic pollutant under the Clean Water Act. Cedarwood oil was initially registered in 1960 as a pesticide to repel moths from clothing. As such, cedarwood oil was subject to the requirements for reregistration eligibility promulgated in 1988. The EPA issued its Reregistration Eligibility Decision (RED) document for cedarwood oil in 1993. Based on information collected as the result of the RED, EPA deregulated cedarwood oil in 1996 and no longer requires manufacturers of cedar oil products to register them as pesticides. Therefore, the cedar oil used in Wondercide™ products as the “active” ingredient allows for our FIFRA 25b Exempt status.
Is harvesting Cedar Trees sustainable?
Most farmers and ranchers will tell you cedar trees are much more than a nuisance…they are an economic liability. These fast growing junipers rob the land of water, displace wildlife, shade out beneficial grasses, hundreds of thousands of people are allergic to its pollen and their volatile oils make them a fire hazard. The only ways to control cedar are by controlled burning or removing them mechanically, which is very labor intensive. In addition, these methods are only moderately effective in that this persistent tree can grow a foot tall and a foot wide each year.
While water conservation and concern is at an all time high, a mature cedar will use about 33 gallons of water per day. A live oak of comparable size will use about 19 gallons per day (Owens 1996: 621). There are many studies underway to better understand the impact of harvesting cedar, but the vast growth of this species over short periods of time allows most scholars and environmentalists to support the claim that cedar is a sustainable, naturally occurring, renewable resource.