The right to know what is in our food, cosmetics, and household goods, and make informed decisions about which products are appropriate for us, is a basic one that too few people around the world enjoy. In the U.S., a debate has been raging for a number of years about whether products that contain genetically modified organisms (GMOs) should be clearly labeled as such, despite the fact that over 90 percent of Americans agree that this kind of labeling system should put in place.
A GMO labeling law signed by former President Barack Obama last year was criticized by a number of leading environmental and food safety groups for only requiring manufacturers to inform consumers about GMO content through the use of smartphone-based Quick Response codes. An estimated 40 percent of the world’s population live in countries with laws that require GMO labeling, but in the U.S., a significant number of food companies and lobby groups are staunchly opposed to the clear labeling of GMO products.
In other areas of the world, consumers lack the basic rights to know whether potentially toxic chemicals might be in their food or cosmetic products. Canada, for example, lacks a transparent labeling system for chemicals that have been linked to certain illnesses. This fact is being highlighted in a new Care2 campaign by Environmental Defence Canada.
Environmental Defence has a three-pronged campaign under way to help reduce Canadian people’s risk of being exposed to dangerous chemicals. The first element of their campaign, Label It, aims to establish a full ingredient disclosure program for all products sold in the country. The second stage, Getting The Toxics Out, endeavors to get known toxins such as triclosan, phthalates, paragons and flame retardants banned, phased out, or restricted by Canada’s provincial and federal governments. Educate Yourself, the third part of their campaign, helps consumers to inform themselves on the issue.
The Care2 petition is another major step in their efforts to spread awareness of Canada’s labeling problem. “Companies in Canada are not required to test ingredients fro safety before products go to market,” they explain, “and too often toxic ingredients are in the products that line store shelves. Every day, cleaning and personal care products that lack ingredient lists and warning labels unknowingly expose Canadians to toxic chemicals that are linked to allergies, endocrine or hormone disruption – and even cancer. Many are also persistent pollutants in our environment.”
If you want to take a stand for your right to know exactly which ingredients are in your personal care and cleaning products, sign the petition now! For more information about Environmental Defence’s efforts to get toxic chemicals out of Canadian products, and how you can help, visit their website.
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