Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Canadians call for better labelling on cleaning products

Survey results show majority of “green” claims aren’t proven

OTTAWA – Most Canadians have no idea what chemicals they’re using to clean their homes on a daily basis, according to results from a David Suzuki Foundation survey released today. The findings revealed that only 42 per cent of cleaning products displayed a full list of ingredients to consumers.

More than 10,500 Canadians participated in the online survey this past spring, providing information for more than 15,000 home cleaning products found in most people’s cupboards. The results from the survey show that Canadians want more information about what’s inside their cleaning products, but details can be hard to find.

“The results show it’s time the Canadian government brought in regulations for better labelling of ingredients found in home cleaning products,” says Lindsay Coulter, the David Suzuki Foundation’s Queen of Green. “We clean to keep our homes safe and healthy, but some of the ingredients in these products are a threat to our health and the environment."

Currently, there are no requirements for manufacturers to disclose all ingredients or warn consumers about chronic health and environmental hazards associated with their products. Some of the chemical ingredients used in cleaning products are associated with cancer, reproductive problems, asthma and other respiratory effects, and allergies. When cleaning products are flushed down the drain, they can also affect aquatic ecosystems.

Ninety-nine per cent of participants want companies to be required to come clean on what’s inside their products. Survey results also show there is a need for more clarification of what constitutes a “green” or eco-friendly cleaning product. Seventy per cent of products entered contained some kind of claim to being “green” compared to just 47 per cent that displayed some kind of eco-certification.

“There are third-body eco-certifications in Canada that help consumers recognize eco-friendly choices,” says Coulter. “But one of the best ways to ensure your home is both clea and healthy is to use simple and inexpensive, yet effective, homemade cleaners like vinegar and baking soda.”
To see what a “good” cleaning product label should look like and read more survey findings visit www.davidsuzuki.org/whatsinside

-For more information, contact:
Lindsay Coulter, Queen of Green, 604-732-4228 ext. 1264

Leanne Clare, Communications Specialist, 613-594-5410
Quotes from survey participants:
“I had no idea that conventional cleaners weren't obliged to list their ingredients, from now on I'll be reading the labels.” ~ Jasmine
“I want to know that what I'm using to clean is completely safe. I think as consumers we have the right to know what we are buying.” ~ Angela

“I've switched to green cleaners and I love them! They work perfectly well, and are much better for us and for the environment.” ~ Samantha

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