Monday, July 4, 2011

Household Product Labeling Act of 2009

Take a minute and go get your favorite commercial cleaner. Look on the back and try to see what's missing. If you said the ingredients list than you would be correct. Currently there are no laws put into place that would require the ingredients of cleaning products to be listed on the packaging.

Representative Steve Israel (NY-2) attempted to change this when he introduced the Household Product Labeling Act in 2009 to the House. According to the Library of Congress website (http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c111:H.R.3057.IH:), the Household Product Labeling Act (H.R. 3057) would "require that any household cleaning product or similar product to bear a label on the product's container or packaging that contains a complete and accurate list of all the product's ingredients". This bill has yet to be passed and the last action taken regarding this act was in 2009.

Why is it important to know the ingredients in our household cleaners (I mean as long as it cleans right?)? Well according to the Organic Consumers Association (http://www.organicconsumers.org/articles/article_279.cfm) "In 2000, cleaning products were responsible for nearly 10% of all toxic exposures reported to U.S. Poison Control Centers, accounting for 206,636 calls. Of these, 120,434 exposures involved children under six, who can swallow or spill cleaners stored or left open inside the home". Also, "Some cause acute, or immediate, hazards such as skin or respiratory irritation, watery eyes, or chemical burns, while others are associated with chronic, or long-term, effects such as cancer." (Cancer!!!)

There are numerous dangerous ingredients in commercial cleaners and you have no idea what they are or what they can do to yourself, your children, or your pets because you don't even know their names. All you have listed are cautions to "keep out of reach of your children, use in a well ventilated area, do not shallow, and/or if this products comes in contact with your skin or eyes call Poison control".

So what can you do about this? Well the first thing would be to call or write your State Representative and tell them why the Household Product Labeling Act is important to you. The second thing that you can do is to look at your favorite cleaning products. If the ingredients are not labeled, then call the company and demand that they start doing so. Let them know that if they do not, then you will start buying from companies that do. Third start buying products from companies like Seventh Generation  that are not only non-toxic, but also list their ingredients. Finally, begin to incorporate some basic natural cleaning into your regime with products (lemons, vinegar, baking soda, hydrogen peroxide) that you probably already have in your home.

Cleaning does not have to be hard. It does not have to smell bad, make your eyes water, your nose run, it does not have to make you cough, or wear a mask and gloves. It does not have to make you worry about the long term effects of those unknown ingredients.  There are natural green ways to clean that will leave your home disinfected and safe. Don't except others to keep you and your family healthy, take responsibility for that yourself.

VIVA La Crunch!

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