Oppose the Accurate Labels Act
Dear Member of Congress,
As companies, investors, and business organizations, we are writing to express our strong opposition to the Accurate Labels Act.
The introduction of this legislation comes at a time when American Sustainable Business Council’s member network of over 250,000 companies and the Investor Environment Health Network’s members representing over $80 billion in assets under management, are calling for greater transparency in the use of toxic chemicals. And we are not alone in this, numerous international and state regulators, non-governmental organizations, and consumers are asking for more transparency. Comprehensive disclosure is critical to leveraging the vast market potential for safer healthier products; and to reducing the financial and economic risk associated with the use of chemicals of high concern.
Research reported in a 2017 Environmental Health Journal article calculated that the disease burden associated with environmental chemical exposures was likely to exceed 10% of the global GDP, an estimated $10 trillion dollars1 per year. These chemical hazards impose billions of dollars in costs on consumers, companies and investors.
The Accurate Labels Act undermines the efforts of well-known businesses who are working to increase transparency and reduce the use of toxic chemicals in consumer products. Many of us have built our companies on the premise that a more open and transparent marketplace is better for our customers and the long-term growth of our business. Additionally, companies including SC Johnson, RB, Unilever, and Walmart are increasing transparency and driving the marketplace towards the use chemicals safer for consumers and the environment.
We believe that consumers have the right to make informed decisions. Considering chemicals are found in most of the products we use – and are exposed to daily – the need for ingredient transparency is fundamental. When surveyed, 86% of consumers believed that ingredient transparency was an ‘important’ to ‘very important’ factor in purchasing household products. Additionally, the current Federal Trade Commission’s Fair Packaging and Labeling Act states, “Informed consumers are essential to the fair and efficient functioning of a free-market economy.” Further, the investors among us rely on information on how companies are managing chemical risks and meeting demand for safer alternatives.
If this bill is passed, it will severely weaken the original purpose of the Fair Packaging and Labeling Act. It also effectively overturns current local, state, and some federal programs which require companies to label toxic chemicals in their products or warn about their chemical risks. The bill prohibits almost all new labeling requirements. The bill – despite its name – does not seek to expand chemical safety, or better inform consumers of ingredients present in the products they purchase. The bill broadens the current loopholes for corporations to hide ingredient information and places the impossible burden on consumers to determine which products are safer. According to Compliance & Risks, a leading authority on regulatory trends, global regulations for chemicals management are increasing faster than for any other environmental issue, including climate change. The U.S. should not be moving backwards.
We urge you to oppose this legislation that undermines the health of the American public and the economic prosperity enabled through a transparent and safe market place.