Industry-backed labelling bill introduced in US Congress | Chemical Watch
Ansje Miller, policy director for NGO Center for Environmental Health, called the proposal an “underhanded and deceitful attempt by the chemical industry to strike down laws”.
By Kelly Franklin, Chemical Watch
Measure has Prop 65 in cross-hairs, says NGO
Both chambers of the US Congress are considering an industry-supported bill that would block product labeling schemes that are not “risk-based” or grounded in “the best available science”.
Senator Jerry Moran (R–Kansas) and Representatives Adam Kinzinger (R–Illinois) and Kurt Schrader (D–Oregon) have introduced the Accurate Labels Act. According to its authors, it is intended to ensure consumers have “accurate and easy-to-understand product information”. It aims to do this by:
- establishing “science-based criteria” for state labeling requirements;
- ensuring that product information is “risk-based”;
- clarifying that trace amounts of substances do not need to be listed as ingredients; and
- allowing state-mandated product information to be provided online and through smartphone-enabled ‘smart labels’, including for relevant ingredients and warnings.
“Due to various state laws, items are incorrectly labeled with warnings about harms that do not exist,” said Mr Kinzinger. “This inaccuracy creates confusion and fear for the consumers; desensitizes the public from heeding serious warnings on health risks; and imposes unnecessary and costly regulatory burdens for producers.”
Introduction of the measure comes amid ongoing concern over existing labelling schemes, including California’s Proposition 65, which will see new “clear and reasonable warning” requirements take effect in August.
The proposed Accurate Labels Act does not mention any specific existing labelling provisions. However, Nancy Buermeyer, senior policy strategist for Breast Cancer Prevention Partners, told Chemical Watch the bill has the California law “squarely in the cross-hairs”.
“The intent is to undermine the effectiveness of Prop 65,” she said. She added the bill’s passage would have “a chilling effect”.
And on the California law, Claire Parker, a spokesperson for the industry coalition, told Chemical Watch the measure would allow manufacturers to challenge a warning label requirement in a federal district court if they feel the mandate does not meet the new federal standard.
‘Underhanded attempt to strike down laws’
Beyond Prop 65, Ms Buermeyer said the Accurate Labels Act could undercut other state ingredient disclosure and labeling laws.
Ansje Miller, policy director for NGO Center for Environmental Health, called the proposal an “underhanded and deceitful attempt by the chemical industry to strike down laws”.chemical-industry, congress, preemption, prop-65