A Victory For Full Disclosure
Believe it or not, most companies that manufacture cleaning supplies, and similar chemical-based products, are not bound by the laws of the land to disclose the ingredients that make their “wonder” products so wonderful.
In a country where coffee cups now come with disclaimers about the damage their contents can do, this seems incredible
For many folks learning about it for the first time, there is a better word for this lack of oversight – appalling.
Like so many perplexing problems that seem to defy common sense, the reason for this state of affairs is as American as apple pie.
It’s all about money.
Since the chemical revolution following World War II, the corporations that have whipped up so many of the toxic cleaning products we take for granted have made billions peddling compounds that certainly will make your kitchen counters shine, but what else do they do?
At the risk of repeating previous blog posts, the chemicals in your laundry soap or dishwashing detergent can, and have, caused all sorts of damage to people and the Planet since their introduction.
As any honorable chemist will tell you, the stuff that lifts months of grime off your oven’s interior is capable of doing similar damage to your insides should it find its way into your bloodstream.
While most cleaning products obviously warn us not to consume them directly, they almost all fall short of telling us what is actually in the bottle we keep under our kitchen sink.
Somewhere along the way, the titan’s of cleaning products decided that they would lobby their buddies in Congress to grant them an exemption from having to put their products ingredients on the containers they sold.
The reason for this lack of disclosure is one of corporate America’s lamest excuses ever – trade secrets.
These guys actually got millions of people to believe that if they told us what was in their products, their competitors would rush out and copy the formula, damaging their business and thus denying the world of hormone mimicking shampoos and conditioners.
At first glance, this reasoning might make sense, to a third grader.
At second glance the holes in this deceptive reasoning are big enough to pilot a cargo ship through.
Patent and trademark laws exist in this country to protect innovative ideas and brands from being copied. All the detergent executives need to do to protect their precious poisons is to hire a good lawyer, and believe me, they already have.
The other ridiculous aspect of this “protection” claim is that every chemical company on the planet employs teams of engineers who have the diagnostic tools at their disposal to easily determine what is in their competitor’s laundry soap.
Just knowing the ingredients, of course, doesn’t guarantee you can copy your rival’s product. You still have to know how and when to combine the ingredients to get the results you want.
However, if Coca-Cola can list their ingredients on each can of soda with fearing imminent doom, why can’t the chemical companies?
Maybe they are afraid that consumers might not want to expose their families to all the nasty stuff that goes into making their whites whiter or whatever it is they claim?
Luckily, the tide appears to be shifting in this decades old policy of deception.
Several high profile companies, including the SC Johnson company, Clorox, and others have recently taken some baby steps towards full disclosure by listing some of their product’s contents online.
Whether this is a preemptive step taken on the advice of their lawyers – “We told the world what was in this stuff, see our website” – or a genuine move in the right direction, it needs to go further, PUT IT ON THE BOTTLE!
At greenboatstuff we only carry cleaning products that tell us, and our customers, what they contain. They work great, and you know what they are. How easy is that?
We know organic soap and some of the other stuff we carry isn’t for everybody, but for folks who want to keep using chemical cleansers, we encourage you to demand more from your detergent or shampoo maker.
Tell them, in no uncertain terms to get with the program and PUT IT ON THE BOTTLE.