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What Procter & Gamble Doesn’t Want You To Know

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View Kathleen Sutcliffe's blog posts
14 October 2009, 2:05 PM
Earthjustice going to court over cleaning products

You spray them in the air, mop your floors with them and wash your clothes in them—but do you have any idea what chemicals are in the cleaners you use?

Probably not. And Procter & Gamble, Colgate Palmolive and other household cleaner giants want to keep it that way.The companies are fighting Earthjustice's lawsuit under a right-to-know law requiring them to disclose the chemical ingredients in their products (Mr. Clean, Lysol, Brillo, Ajax and others) and the health risks they pose.

Keri Powell in the Northeast office will soon face off against the companies' lawyers in court. She'll be outflanked 5 to 1. But she's got spirited colleagues to cheer her on. That—and the fact that the law is on her side!

You spray them in the air, mop your floors with them and wash your clothes in them—but do you have any idea what chemicals are in the cleaners you use?

Probably not. And Procter & Gamble, Colgate Palmolive and other household cleaner giants want to keep it that way.The companies are fighting Earthjustice's lawsuit under a right-to-know law requiring them to disclose the chemical ingredients in their products (Mr. Clean, Lysol, Brillo, Ajax and others) and the health risks they pose.

Keri Powell in the Northeast office will soon face off against the companies' lawyers in court. She'll be outflanked 5 to 1. But she's got spirited colleagues to cheer her on. That—and the fact that the law is on her side!

The case comes just as the Obama administration is grappling with how to reform our system of regulating toxic chemicals.

Overhauling this badly broken system won't be easy, but one thing's certain: Consumers are demanding—and have a right—to make informed choices about the products they bring into their homes.

Strangely, some companies are acting like consumers won't know what to do with this information once they have it. They obviously haven't talked to a mom with an internet connection recently.

When I told a good friend of mine, the mother of an adorable two-year-old, about the case, she cheered us on and said she'd gladly put ingredient information to use.

"I'm constantly reading and doing research to learn what's best for my daughter. Trust me, if I have the information, I will use it. And I'll share it with every mother I know!"

I guess it takes an online village…

Very informative and trustworthy blog. Please keep updating with great posts like this one. I have booked marked your site and am about to email it to a few friends of mine that I know would enjoy reading

They definitely have to disclose these items. I am not sure what the issue is at all. The government needs to step in on this. The chemicals are definitely harmful.

Live Food

Yes!! I actually have a strong allergic reaction to some of the cleaning stuff they produce!!
miele bags

Procter & Gambel is such a large parent company. Most households are using more than one product of theirs without even knowing. I am recently trying to boycott all their products and am appalled how many products I have been buying that are supporting their cruel and inhumane animal testing and harm to our enviroment and health.
Having a brother who was a Production Manager for the company I regularly purchased many of their products before I was educated about the dark side of their company.
Please check some of the products you already have. Procter & Gamble makes laundry detergent, cosmetics, feminine products, hair products, disposable diapers cleaning products, etc. and most of these are sold under more than one brand name.

As difficult as it is, I am determined to suceed in eliminating all their products from my shopping!

And I urge all of you to do the same and spread the word to help educate others. It is amazing what a bit of knowledge can do. Is it no wonder Procter & Gammble doesn't want to disclose the chemical content of their products to consumers?

Proctor & Gamble has been a thorn in my side for 35 years.Back in the day it came out they were Devil Worshiper's they even had a devil/witch picture on their trademark,when people started to boycott they changed the picture and over time people have forgotten.They used to boast their business would be more successful worshiping the Devil rather than God.Yes they do have something to hide,that's why they refuse to list the toxic ingredients we all know will kill us and our children.

Let's not forget about Proctor & Gamble's horribly cruel animal testing on all the chemicals it puts in their products, too. And people like Ellen DeGeneres, supposedly an animal rights advocate, who became a sellout by becoming a Cover Girl for the makeup (Cover Girl) which is manufactured by Proctor & Gamble. Cover Girl will say they do not test on animals---what they DON'T say is that Proctor & Gamble, the parent company, DOES .... and the tests on dogs, cats, rabbits, monkeys, mice, etc. are indescribably cruel and torturous. Most households have MANY products with one name on the label, but in the fine print it says Proctor & Gamble is the parent company. They own tons of smaller, more familiar/recognizable companies. Shame on all of them!! I have boycotted them all for years. Everyone should.

For what it's worth, I looked into those "laundry disks" that purport to clean laundry without detergent. They're fake, but in the process I read some studies that showed you don't need ANY soap to wash clothes (except for greasy stuff). Plain water did just as well as laundry detergent. So now I only use soap in loads that need it.

OBVIOUSLY for any company to resist disclosure they have something to hide from consumers. Their real competitors have long ago analyzed their product ingredients and know exactly what's in the products, so any claims of business propriety is a non-issue. This is just another version of the cigarette companies, where public knowledge is dangerous to them because of their harmful practices.

It sounds as if anonomous works for one of the same companies that don’t want to reveal their product information.

The discussion of one having to have a keen understanding of chemistry to understand the labeling on these products is absurd. Look at how many people use the labeling in food products. An extremely low percentage of these people have chemistry or nutritional backgrounds. Yet, many people have LEARNED to use this information for their betterment.

Due to laws passed by various (local, state, federal) government levels, places that utilized chemicals are required to have an MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheet) available to ALL employees who may encounter each of these chemicals. Granted, water and some “office supplies” (pens, pencils, etc.) are usually not included. {grin} Those chemicals that are of most concern are those that may cause harm. Sometimes they may cause harm only to pregnant women but are still listed for all. Yet, the law requires these MSDS sheets to be available to all. If one knows of a specific chemical or compound, they can go online and get accurate information concerning safety and health on that chemical through an MSDS system. Few of these workers have chemical backgrounds, yet these MSDS’s provide information that most people understand. As the number of workers become familiar with the MSDS system, the information is easily propagated to their families. Therefore, there are a lot of people who already know how to find information about chemicals through the MSDS program and understand what hazards any particular chemical poses. Of course, many companies like to utilize “compounds” (under their own name) in their listing so that it masks what they are using. These compounds will also be listed in the MSDS program and will be available to people explaining the hazards they may have as a compound.

Provided these companies list the chemicals utilized in their products, as this lawsuit suggests, consumers could obtain MSDS information online and understand more about the product. One of the issues of these companies is that when they start listing the chemicals utilized, they must also provide an MSDS of that chemical to anyone who request one from them (even though they are online). Many companies ship a copy of an MSDS along with the item (most often industrial uses).

People do not have to have enough “chemical” knowledge to understand what is listed. The MSDS program takes the technical information and posts useful information as to safe handling and any hazards that the item may possess. I say “bring it on”, the public has been entitled to this information for years!

SLS--do you mind using the full name of this chemical? The problem with your comment is that I do not know how to verify your information. I am not a scientist with chemistry skills-like most consumers. Arrogance is not going to help the average consumer. We are being poisoned and that cannot be disputed. There are many studies that show how our systems are full multiple and potential lethal toxics. Look at the high cancer rates in industrialized countries. Prevention is the best solution. A system needs to be put in place by our government whereby any toxic chemical which "might" be hazardous should be taken off the market until it is fully studied by objective scientists. Even then, the other problem is that it is impossible to account for the "amounts" of chemicals and their effects on us over a lifetime, because we are exposed to multiple dangerous chemicals daily-- many of them unknown to us as they are not necessarily visible. Most of us do not live in isolated labs where we are exposed to one chemical at a time (and in specific amounts). We are exposed to multiple chemicals and we cannot know the effect of these when they work in combination and in combination with our delicate bodily systems. What we do know is that diseases like cancer, autism, and so on, are on the rise, and they are on the rise in animals, fish, and so on.. Something is causing this. It seems likely that it is dangerous industrial chemicals. Our government needs to override corporate control of this information, as well as corporate greed that allows for a complete denial of the ill effects of so much of what they produce and use. Industry needs to act cautiously, preventatively, and carefully--we cannot wait for studies--consumers and citizens deserve protection now. Prevention! Too many people are negatively impacted with more disease and death from toxic chemicals that are everywhere and in everything we use. We don't need to argue which chemical is worse or better--we need to eliminate anything that "might" be dangerous, and might be dangerous in combination with others. Even if your SLS argument is correct (I think there are those who would argue with you), we are still producing massive amounts of Pesticides like DDT--years after Silent Spring was published and the evidence was clear. That is an obvious one. Let's start there. We already know something is woefully wrong with the environment and the products we use. The evidence is more than obvious.

On one hand, yes, we want to know what is in it, because there are some terrible things in some cleaning products (for example, endocrine disrupters like NPE's). On the other, does it really help the mom (or dad) with an internet connection if she/he hasn't had a basic chemistry course somewhere along the line? The internet is filled with all sorts of incorrect information, hysteria, and competing companies trying to discredit others. Rather than wondering if any one particular company has self-interest in saying what they're claiming about other manufacturers, people swallow it hook, line, and sinker. Seriously, people still believe that SLS in detergents and personal care products at any amount is "dangerous" or "toxic." This is a great example. The SLS scare was launched by a manufacturer who used ALS instead, and hired a PR group to manufacture a scare in order to attack his competitors and gain market share for himself. Well, it worked. Even though (the urban legends site) and even the American Cancer Society discredited it, it lives on. Even supposed "consumer" environmental sites are guilty of perpetuating these sorts of untruths, partially because they truly do not understand chemistry, or they pick and choose what they want to believe out of scientific reports, and finally because they do not understand the toxological principle of "the dose is the poison." (While this can be an excuse, most of the time it is not. Sprinkle some table salt on your food, you're OK. Ingest half a cup of table salt in one sitting and you might die. Things are usually neither good nor bad, toxic nor non-toxic: it depends on how much you're exposed to and how often, and if it biodegrades or persists in your body or in the environment.) So when people have such a lack of basic scientific knowledge such that they only want to use "things that have no chemicals in them" (EVERYTHING on the face of the earth is a chemical); or they think "sodium chloride" is a way to hide chlorine in a formula and they get angry and tell everyone on their blog not to buy the product; or they say "sodium bicarbonate sounds like trisodium phosphate, and I know that is dangerous stuff!", no wonder manufacturers are hesitant to list ingredients. (Sodium chloride is table salt; sodium bicarbonate is baking soda, the same thing in your kitchen you bake with. Perhaps manufacturers could just say "salt" and that would satisfy most everyone. Except anyone who has taken chemistry - they know that there are a whole lotta very dangerous chemicals that are classified as "salts"!)

The compounds in today's laundry detergents, fabric softeners, dryer strips and fragrances are very toxic. They contain volatile organic compounds (VOC's) that diffuse into the air, absorb into the skin and cross the placenta and blood brain barriers. They are so widely used that any dose in any amount is constant and cumulative. Babies and children are more vulnerable as elimination from their delicate bodies is ten times more difficult for them as adults. These products are very concentrated with VOC's. if one load of laundry perfumes an entire neighborhood, isn't this overkill? Unfortunately, these hazardous products have been marketed so heavily since 1995, that the population has been exposed to a silent killer. These compounds are contributory factors to most diseases known to man and animals. Since 1995, autism, nervous system disorders, childhood leukemias and brain cancers have skyrocketed. Since phosphates were prohibited, corporations replaced them with VOC's, thinking that nobody would notice or be aware of the extreme hazards in homes, schools and work environments. Corporations have no conscience. There is no excuse for poisoning the population.

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