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.
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