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Most Consumers Distrust Cleaning Products’ Safety

Household chemical manufacturers rank themselves at or ahead of the curve in product safety; yet, consumers remain concerned about product safety, and 65 percent believe cleaning products have not improved over the past five years, according to research by Underwriters Laboratories.

On average, 73 percent of consumers do not believe that household chemical manufacturers have taken adequate steps to ensure that environmentally friendly manufacturing procedures are followed. Nearly two-thirds of consumers surveyed do not believe manufacturers thoroughly test products before they arrive on store shelves, according to Navigating the Product Mindset.
Such consumer wariness will influence industrial cleaning practices in hospitals, schools and other public buildings, according UL Environment, a business unit of UL.
Household chemical manufacturers say it’s their responsibility to communicate safety information to consumers. And 90 percent list product safety among the top three factors impacting their ability to effectively compete. Yet, 64 percent of consumers say product safety information is difficult to locate.
This week cleaning products made by Clorox, SC Johnson and Reckitt Benckiser were named among hundreds that received failing grades in an online safety and disclosure guide published by the Environmental Working Group. Just seven percent of cleaning products adequately disclose their contents, EWG said. Of the 408 all-purpose cleaners reviewed, 18 products scored an A, eight scored a B, 33 scored a C, 160 scored a D and 189 products scored an F.
In January, SC Johnson announced it was listing the ingredients contained in its products and the roles they play in a newly-relaunched website. The site also contains FAQs about products and links to alternate sites containing ingredient information and educational materials. The company also said it would publish a list of all fragrance ingredients used in its products.
Johnson & Johnson recently announced it would remove potentially harmful chemicals, including formaldehyde, from its line of adult consumer products by the end of 2015.
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4 thoughts on “Most Consumers Distrust Cleaning Products’ Safety

  1. Consumers distrust claims about safety of cleaning products with good reason. With no regulation of greenwashing, and no legal definitions of such eco-fuzzy claims as “natural”, “non-toxic” or “safe for the environment”, nor any meaningful requirements for truthful listing of ingredients, companies can say whatever they want about safety on their labels. While you can fool some people some of the time, you can’t fool all the people, all the time. Companies making false claims about cleaning product safety would be wise to heed this old adage, or to watch their market position plummet as consumers get “mad as hell”, and refuse “to take it anymore”. For an insightful expose on some famous brands, and their empty safety claims, watch: http://www.cbc.ca/marketplace/episodes/2012/09/lousy-labels-home-edition.html

  2. Cleaning products safety is a very important issue. We don’t even realize this, but we are actually exposed to cleaning products all the time. And not only at home. Using safe cleaning products contributes to overall workplace safety and thus any improvements in this sphere is a step towards safer workplaces.

  3. Pretty interesting how such a large percentage of consumers distrust the large cleaning product companies. We need to work on increasing public awareness and education about the many steps that are taken to decrease harm to the environment. Most of these companies are already using paper-less inspection mobile apps as well as have multiple safety checks in place to prevent environmental disasters.

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