By Patrick Ambrosio
Sept. 19 --A panel consisting
of representatives from environmental groups, consumer advocacy organizations
and a sustainable product manufacturer agreed that they would like to see
chemical manufacturers fully disclose the ingredients of their products to
regulators and the public.
Ryan Williams, director of sustainability and
so-called good cop at Method, said Sept. 18 that his company supports “radical”
transparency. Method, which markets naturally derived, biodegradable products,
would like to know every substance that is in the ingredients used in its
products and believes that information should be passed along to consumers,
according to Williams.
Williams spoke on a panel at the 3rd Safer
Consumer Products Summit, organized by Infocast Inc. and held in Washington.
Renee Sharp, director of research for the Environmental Working Group,
concurred with Williams. She said all products should have all of their
Williams and Sharp made those comments after
Kathleen Roberts, executive director of the Biobased and Renewable Products
Advocacy Group, asked the panel to state their “wishes” for chemical policy.
Following the comments by
Williams and Sharp, a member of the audience questioned whether the full release
of chemical ingredients would actually benefit consumers.
acknowledged that Chemical Abstract Service (CAS) numbers are “not appropriate”
for consumers. He said the full disclosure of chemical ingredients would allow
government regulators and academic researchers to have a better understanding of
a chemical, allowing for more thorough research.
nongovernmental organizations could then interpret that research and help inform
Janet Nudelman, director of program and policy at the Breast
Cancer Fund, said the ability of consumers to understand issues with chemicals
shouldn't be underestimated. She mentioned phthalates and bisphenol A as
examples of chemicals that consumers are now very aware of.
government agencies around the world have concluded that BPA is safe as used,
but food manufacturers are examining possible substitutes to line food
containers to address consumer concerns about the possible health effects of BPA
Carol Hood, technical lead
for the Safety Center of Expertise at the Clorox Co., said during a different
panel that she is unsure how the chemical industry can change public perception
Hood said it is going to take a “paradigm shift” to convey to the
public that companies want consumers to be safe. She classified Clorox as a
“very conservative” company when it comes to safety, mentioning that the company
doesn't work with substances that are identified on the Environmental Protection
Agency's list of chemicals of concern.
Bob Hamilton, regulatory policy
director for Amway, agreed that the public has a negative perception of the
chemical industry at large, but he noted that the public has a positive view of
many product brands.
Hamilton added that he would like to see more
affirmative education on the benefits of products. He mentioned industry efforts
to promote hand washing in schools as an example of an affirmative education
The School Network for Absenteeism Prevention (SNAP) program, a
joint initiative of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the
American Cleaning Institute, aims to improve hand hygiene habits among school
students and prevent the spread of infectious diseases, according to ACI's website.
To contact the reporter on this story: Patrick Ambrosio in
Washington at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To contact the editor responsible for this story: John Sullivan at email@example.com
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