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Product Labeling Laws

When attempting to remove toxic chemicals from our homes, the greatest difficulty is identifying which products are toxic. 

Most toxic substances generally found in the home are hidden in products—that is, the law does not require that they be listed on product labels. For example, a canned food might contain remainders of the detergent used to wash the food, traces of lead from the solder used to hold the can together, artificial additives that could have been used in any of the ingredients, and pesticide residues. All the law requires of food manufacturers is that they list on the label the ingredients and addinves mixed together in the final stage of processing, and not the additives and contaminants in the ingre€lients them­selves. Ferreting out this information is no mean task of detec­tion: Most of my information about toxic chemicals in products has come from materials written for poison-control centers, toxi­cology books, federal regulations, and trade journals—not from the product labels themselves.

Labeling laws for products vary by product type. Foods and cosmetic products, for example, are required by law to list all in­gredients, in descending order of percentage of content. Many products, however, do not have product ingredients listed. Ironi­cally, the manufacturers of the most toxic products are not re­quired by law to completely list their ingredients.

Here below are links to information on the labeling laws for different product types. It seems that most manufacturers will label their products to the letter of the law and go no further, Often, however, the makers of safer, more natural products do list their ingredients—and more—whether required by law or, not.