Glossed Over: Where we take a closer look at what advertisements are really selling.
I am all for the sentiment behind this video, sponsored by Method to raise awareness about the Household Product Labeling Act, which would require cleaning products to list all of their ingredients on the label. At the moment, Mr. Clean and friends don’t have to tell you anything, and even if they do, they don’t have to let you know if any of the incomprehensible chemicals on the list might give you an allergic reaction, or, you know, cancer. If you’d like to see that change, enter your zip code here to send a letter to your Congresspersons asking them to support the bill.
But I am not too sure about the video itself — having been on the receiving end of unwanted ogling plenty of times (like pretty much all women who are remotely identifiable as such), those soap bubbles are creeping me out. If it’s supposed to be funny, it’s making light of an important issue (sexual harassment). If it’s supposed to be scary (because cancer in your bathtub is scary), I would have preferred the video creators to keep the focus on their own rather important issue and explain that consumers have a right to know what’s in their household products because these soap bubbles may pose environmental health risks.
It should be noted that Method hasn’t always done the best job of disclosing their own ingredient lists, though I’ll give them props for laying it all out there now. But if they’re so scared that people might associate cleaning products with danger that they don’t want to spell that out in a video advocating for more transparency, well, their friendly new ingredient lists feel more like a marketing ploy than an honest environmental agenda.
In other news, beauty products are required by the FDA to include an ingredient list. But there are some clever loopholes, like fragrance, which may contain any number of chemicals if the manufacturer deems them a proprietary formula. And they don’t have to tell you what any of their ingredients do or whether they’ve undergone safety evaluations. So kudos to Bella Sugar for reporting on this new research finding that we put an average of 515 synthetic chemicals on our skin every day. Maybe it’s time to see some legislation requiring the beauty industry to tell us more about all of that.