Most U.S. Voters Want Products Free of Harmful Chemicals: Poll

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 even willing to pay more to get that assurance of safety.

“At a time when most issues are politically polarized, the issue of keeping people safe from harmful chemicals finds widespread agreement among Democrats, Republicans, and Independent voters,” said Celinda Lake, president of Lake Research Partners, which conducted the poll. The Program on Reproductive Health and the Environment (PRHE) at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), commissioned the survey.

More than 90 percent of those polled wanted the U.S. government to require products to be screened for harmful chemicals and proven safe before market approval. The survey, conducted between May 25 and June 5, gathered 1,200 responses from registered American voters.

The survey found:

  • 92 percent of voters agreed, and 63 percent of voters strongly agreed, that the U.S. government should make companies prove that their products are safe before selling them.
  • 93 percent of voters agreed, and 62 percent strongly agreed, that companies should do a better job of getting rid of harmful chemicals from consumer products.
  • 88 percent of voters agreed that companies should do a better job of taking plastics out of consumer products and reducing their use of plastic packaging.
  • 76 percent of the Americans who took the survey said they were worried about how chemicals and plastics contribute to climate change.
  • 54 percent of those polled said that chemical regulations are not strong enough, while 21 percent said they are about right and 10 percent said they are too strong.
  • The Toxic Substances Control Act makes it easier to limit or ban harmful chemicals to better protect vulnerable people like pregnant women, children, and people who live near factories that are polluting the surrounding area: 89 percent of voters supported the act, and 56 percent of them strongly supported it.
  • 93 percent of voters agreed, and 57 percent strongly agreed, that it is important to get rid of harmful chemicals where people live, work, and go to school, even if it makes some products more expensive. A similar number agreed that it is important for companies to keep harmful chemicals out of everyday products, even if it increases the cost of the products.
  • Voters were worried about all of the chemicals asked about in the survey, but they were most concerned about chemicals that they ate, drank, or breathed in. Still, they did not know how the system for regulating chemicals works.
  • About half of people (49 percent) said that the chemicals in food and consumer goods have been tested to make sure they are safe, which is not true.

“People assume that what they buy is safe and that almost always isn’t the case,” said Tracey Woodruff, a professor of obstetrics, gynecology, and reproductive sciences who directs the PRHE at UCSF. “The good news is this survey reveals overwhelming support for the government to do a better job of protecting people from harmful chemicals.”

More information

The Environmental Working Group has more about chemicals in consumer products.

SOURCE: University of California, San Francisco, news release, Oct. 11, 2022

 

This story was originally published on the HealthDay site.

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