Protect your right to know what dangerous chemicals are in your products
There’s a small yet powerful invention that Americans use every day, but most of us take it for granted: the label. It’s wonderful, when you stop to think about it, that we can tell at a glance exactly what’s in most of our products. If you’re trying to make safe, healthy choices for yourself and your family, this is a huge deal! But labels haven’t always been required — and if we aren’t vigilant, they could disappear.
A few weeks ago, the trade associations that represent food companies like Kellogg’s, Frito-Lay, and Clorox (the Grocery Manufacturers Association) and chemical companies like Dow-DuPont and Exxon/Mobil (the American Chemistry Council) worked with the Congress to introduce legislation that would block state and local governments from requiring labels on products from junk food to children’s toys. If their products contain hazardous chemicals, including those that cause cancer, reproductive health problems, learning disabilities, hormone disruption, and other health hazards, this law would let them hide it.
Our nation’s chemical regulations have been broken for a long time, allowing a flood of hazardous chemicals on to our store shelves and in our environment with no requirement for testing for safety. At the same time, people across the country have been clamoring for safer products. When the federal government fails to act, people ask their state and local governments to at least require that companies disclose when they use chemicals that harm our health.
These campaigns have been hugely successful in giving people the information they need to make smart decisions about the products they buy, which in turn is an incentive for companies to make safer products. Here’s just a partial list:
- In 1986 Californians overwhelmingly voted (with over 2/3 of the popular vote) to require that companies label products containing chemicals known to cause cancer and reproductive problems.
- States like Washington, Oregon, Vermont, and Maine passed laws that require companies to disclose if they contain chemicals on well-vetted lists of chemicals of concern.
- States across the country have passed mercury labeling laws that virtually eliminated the use of that brain-damaging chemical in everyday products.
- State and local laws have removed lead from toys, cancer-causing chemicals from sodas like Coke and Pepsi, arsenic from children’s play structures, and let consumers know which couches contain cancer-causing flame-retardant chemicals.
Because of these state and local laws, the products we use every day are safer. But that could change.
The so-called “Accurate Labels Act,” which is more aptly named the “Hidden Hazards Act”, was introduced to deliberately undermine these critical protections at the state and local level. Click here for more details about this crazy bill.
We need to kill this bill so that state and local governments can keep taking actions that give people the information we need to make safer choices. The first step is to keep this bill from gaining any momentum by building opposition to it in Congress.
Stand up for labels, and ask your member of Congress to oppose this dangerous bill.