Monday, July 20, 2009

Proposed Labeling Legislation

Last Monday, Representative Steve Israel (D-Long Island) introduced new legislation that would require manufacturers of household products to list all ingredients on the product container or packaging. Representative Israel, a member of the House Appropriations Committee, has entitled this proposed legislation "The Household Product Labeling Act of 2009" (H.R. 3057).

The very day that this legislation was introduced, I went to Costco with a coupon in hand for their new Kirkland Signature Environmentally Friendly Liquid Dish Soap. I was dismayed, when I looked at the soap bottle, that the ingredients were NOT listed. Instead, there was a statement that it contained "natural" surfactants and a clean "natural" fragrance. Since I have no idea how they define "natural," I didn't buy the soap. Instead, I came right home and emailed Costco Customer Service requesting an ingredient list for the product. As of today (a week later), I have not received an answer.

I'm not really hopeful that Rep. Israel's legislation will make it into law, but I do have hope that it will bring added attention to the problem of toxic ingredients in products we use every day. This bill has the financial backing of the Citizens' Campaign for the Environment and the Huntington Breast Cancer Action Coalition. They may be small potatoes next to the chemical industry giants, but I applaud them and Rep. Israel for their gumption. We have to start somewhere.

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