Written by Sidney Murphy, HealthDay Reporter
TUESDAY, Oct. 11, 2022 (HealthDay News) — Do the majority of Americans want the government to make sure the products they buy are free of harmful chemicals?
Yes, a new survey shows, and they are willing to pay more for a safety guarantee.
“While most issues are politically polarized, the issue of keeping people safe from harmful chemicals finds broad agreement among Democrats, Republicans and independent voters,” said Celinda Lake, president of Lake Research Partners, which conducted the survey. The Reproductive Health and Environment (PRHE) Program at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) conducted the survey.
More than 90% of those surveyed wanted the US government to have products tested for harmful chemicals and proven safe before market approval. The poll was conducted between May 25 and June 5, and collected 1,200 responses from registered US voters.
The survey found:
- 92% of voters agreed, and 63% of voters strongly agreed, that the US government should have companies prove that their products are safe before they can be sold.
- 93% of voters agreed and 62% strongly agreed that companies should do a better job of eliminating harmful chemicals from consumer products.
- 88% of voters agreed that companies should do a better job of removing plastics from consumer products and reducing their use of plastic packaging.
- 76% of Americans who took part in the survey said they are concerned about how chemicals and plastics contribute to climate change.
- 54% of those surveyed said the chemical regulations were not strong enough, while 21% said they were right, and 10% said they were too strong.
- The Toxic Substances Control Act makes it easier to limit or ban harmful chemicals to better protect vulnerable people such as pregnant women, children and people who live near factories that pollute the surrounding area: 89% of voters supported the act, and 56% strongly supported it.
- 93% of voters agreed, and 57% strongly agreed, that it’s important to get rid of harmful chemicals where people live, work and go to school, even if they make some products more expensive. A similar number agreed that it is important for companies to keep harmful chemicals out of everyday products, even if they increase the cost of products.
- Voters were concerned about all the chemicals they were asked about in the survey, but they were more concerned about the chemicals they were eating, drinking, or inhaling. However, they did not know how the chemical regulation system worked.
- About half of people (49%) said that chemicals in food and consumer goods have been tested to ensure they are safe, which is not true.
“People assume that what they buy is safe, and that’s not almost always the case,” said Tracy Woodruff, professor of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive sciences who directs PRHE at UCSF. “The good news is that this survey reveals overwhelming support for the government to do a better job of protecting people from harmful chemicals.”
The Environmental Working Group has more on chemicals in consumer products.
Source: University of California, San Francisco, press release, October 11, 2022