Americans Can't Know Whether Chemicals in Products They Use Are Unsafe

May 6, 2015

Do American consumers have a right to know whether the chemicals in products that they use are safe? Do they even have a right to know what those chemicals are? Often, they do not.

As Congress limps toward revisions of the Toxic Substances Control Act, which has been badly broken since it was passed in 1976, it's clear that only a small fraction of the roughly 84,000 chemicals in commerce in the U.S. have actually been tested for health effects. While ingredients in many foods and drugs are tested and disclosed, many others, including those in cleaning products and personal care products, are not.

Moreover, there is not always protection for populations who may be especially vulnerable to products such as baby wipes or laundry pods.

Now an environmental health group, Women's Voices for the Earth, has rated some household cleaning products firms. They gave Procter & Gamble an "F" for chemical transparency.

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