May 30 2013
by Taylor Smith
The Heartland Institutehas recently signed a coalition letter led by the Independent Woman’s Forum urging retailers to both be aware of and reject a dubious campaign spreading incomplete information on chemicals.
According to IWF, the Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families organization is “capitalizing on the natural anxieties of parents” by leading the campaign to pressure the nation’s top 10 retailers into removing certain products that contain so-called “hazardous” chemicals.
From the letter:
Removing these products from the market will be a huge cost to shoppers and could even put consumers at risk. Among the chemicals the campaign wants removed from are phthalates, bisphenol-A, formaldehyde, and certain flame retardants. The campaign is quick to suggest these chemicals are hazardous at the level consumers are exposed, despite the significant body of scientific evidence to the contrary. Yet, the campaign fails to inform consumers that these chemicals often make products safer.
For example, flame retardants, which are now common in furniture and building materials, are largely responsible for the sharp decline in household fires since the 1970s. Formaldehyde, which is used in personal care products, helps prevent bacterial growth. Phthalates are added to plastics to make toys less breakable. And bisphenol-A, a chemical used in food packaging, safeguards against deadly botulism in canned food.
As the letter goes in to state, impeding consumer choice will distort market mechanisms in ways that actually make products less safe, harder to find, and more expensive.