Tuesday, July 9, 2013

A game of hide-and-seek with SC Johnson

Today, over 50,000 signatures from people like you and me will be delivered to SC Johnson (makers of Glade, Pledge, Windex, and more common household products) demanding to know what ingredients are used to create the fragrances in the company's scented products. Womens Voices for the Earth teamed up with the advocacy group, SumOfUs.org, both groups determined to impose change on a company that claims to be committed to "honesty" and "transparency," yet continues to play hide-and-seek with us about what is in their fragrances. 

Listen up, SC Johnson -- you may be hiding, but we are actively seeking!

Do you read labels often? Of course, you do! How about the Pledge label that boasts a reduction in allergies while dusting? It's ironic, isn't it, that the ingredients in Pledge include hidden allergens. Oops. Guess they forgot to mention that.

I don't know about you, but I'm fired up about this. I'm tired of a government who tells me I have to wear a seat belt, I can't drive after a couple of glasses of wine, my grandchildren must be vaccinated to attend school, I can't say the word "bomb" on a plane (even if it's simply in the statement, "You're the bomb!"), etc., but they refuse to tell manufacturers to stop poisoning us with hidden ingredients! And, by the way, I'm not saying all the above referenced laws are bad; I'm just trying to show you the discrepancy in the laws.

Seriously, I've had it. 

So let's take a closer look at what's going on:

SC Johnson’s Fragrance Palette

SC Johnson has published a master list of nearly 1,500 ingredients they use in their fragrances. However, these ingredients aren’t product-specific, which means that SCJ fragranced products may include any of those chemicals. This massive list is all but useless to the consumer.
Some chemicals of concern in the fragrance palette:
  • Synthetic musks: persistent (they don’t break down in the environment), bioaccumulative (they build up in our bodies), potential hormone disruptors, may break down the body’s defenses against other toxic exposures, and are showing up in our blood and breast milk
  • All 26 of the allergens currently disclosed on SCJ product labels in the European Union (EU). SCJ doesn’t disclose these allergens on product labels in the US because they’re not required to by law.
  • Several additional allergens, which have been deemed of concern in the EU. (While WVE does not believe that allergens need to be removed from products, because not everyone is sensitive to them, allergens should be clearly labeled so that those people who are sensitive can avoid them.)
  • Several chemicals of concern identified by an EU panel as having no publicly available human safety data.
  • Terpenes, which can react with ground level ozone in the air to form cancer-causing formaldehyde.
  • Petroleum – the same compound in gasoline.

Now, here's the kicker -- In the EU, companies are required to disclose 26 ingredients that the European Union has determined to trigger allergies. SC Johnson therefore discloses all 26 of the allergens required in the EU directly on product labels, but doesn’t disclose these allergens in the US because they’re not required to by law. We all deserve to be able to avoid chemicals that may cause allergic reactions, no matter where we live. Doesn't that infuriate you? If you live in the United States, it should.

WVE released a spoof SC Johnson website and YouTube video today that's worth sharing. Please view it and share it on your social media platforms. Let's get the word out and effect some change. We each may be a tiny little voice, but when we band together, we can produce a pretty loud SCREAM!

Check out the website here, and then get involved!

I did.


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