How well I remember the rep who got my email address and tried to recruit me for one of these companies. I looked at their slick web site and decided I could find all I'd need to know on the "Safety" page. Sure enough, they had a statement that said all essential oils could be used safely on the skin. Say what? I replied to the rep suggesting they might want to take that statement off the site and he came back again offering to set up a conference call with the company's founder. I guess he thought that would shut me up. Not likely. I agreed to the call.
The founder regaled me for about a half hour with his knowledge of essential oils, using medical terms I'm pretty sure he didn't think I'd understand but since I work in hospice, they were very familiar to me. When he was done, I asked if I could ask a couple of questions and he agreed. I asked why, with all his knowledge, he'd call his oils "therapeutic grade" and after a significant pause he told me that they used the term as a marketing tool to set themselves apart from other companies and in the hope that they'd make this "standard" stick in the United States. That type of underhanded stuff makes me crazy.
I also heard from another Director with the National Organization for Holistic Aromatherapy that she recently listened to a webinar from a rep for one of these companies who apparently made the statement that their oils were so pure that children could safely ingest them. That's an amazingly stupid and dangerous comment.
So what to do? I've found that most of the reps for these companies really want to be knowledgeable; the problem is that they also don't want to admit that the information they're being taught might be seriously flawed - probably because they've made too much of an investment, both monetarily and emotionally. I don't try to engage in a discussion with them any more because they tend to spew phrases they've learned in answer to challenging questions but don't want to take the time to listen to the rebuttal or check the facts through an outside source. Go to a chemist. Find out if you can safely drip undiluted essential oils on the back. Go to any independent organization that's not there to make money and ask about essential oil standards. Study the basics of distillation and chemical constituents and see if it makes sense that essential oil from a plant grown in an arid region of the US will have the same chemical markers as that same plant grown in rich, loamy soil overseas. Don't accept the "facts." Learn! Study! Most of all, change your tactics if you find they're incorrect.