August 5th, 2006
To the Editor,
Sorry, Ms. Simpson but you have it all wrong as does your source, Dr. Khatter, president of the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment. It is the responsibility of each citizen to decide which manufacturers deserve our business. Before some bright spark determined that manufacturers did not have to reveal all their ingredients, the marketplace could be an honest exchange of the best/safest products and services for consumer dollars, Now, corporations hide ingredients under the guise of trade secrets (as if competitors don’t analyze them in their labs). Labels contain meaningless euphemisms for undisclosed contents like ‘inerts ingredients, 98%’ or gross categories like ‘fragrance’ which represent hundreds of possible substances. Many highly toxic items find their way into our homes, offices and our bodies in this manner while we are told it is the government’s responsibility to determine what is ‘safe’.
Do you know what the final body count is by the time a government determines a marketed product is no longer ‘safe’? There is a reason for the term, ‘caveat emptor’ or ‘buyer beware’. Let’s remember that a sale is a contract between a consumer and a vendor. The only way a contract should be considered ‘legal’, is when full disclosure of the details is required. We can decide if we wish to purchase a product with a list of incomprehensible items or do our own research on the matter. We are a society of literate individuals entitled to ask, “What am I eating, drinking and breathing when I bring item X into my home or allow Mr. Y to landscape my lawn?
When I became disabled from pesticide poisoning, I was told there was no need for me to know what was in them, when they were to be used in my vicinity or what tests were performed to prove the final, marketed product (instead of just an active ingredient) was actually safe for each person exposed to it.
If we aren’t allowed to know about how we are living, we will continue to wonder why we are dying. And foot the bill for it. . .
Categories: Hamilton Spectator