TORONTO, ON – A new study by Environmental Defence shows that Canadians would support better labelling and disclosure policies for household cleaning and personal care products.

“Canadian law does not require cleaning products and many cosmetics to feature a complete ingredient list,” said Muhannad Malas, Toxics Program Manager at Environmental Defence. “Focus group results indicate that Canadians don’t want to unknowingly expose themselves to cancer-causing and endocrine-disrupting chemicals in household products.”

According to focus groups conducted by Environics Research on behalf of Environmental Defence, Canadian consumers would like to see more transparent ingredient labels and health warnings about ingredients linked to cancer, reproductive health problems and other chronic conditions.

“Canadians simply do not have all the information they need to make safe choices about many products they use daily,” Malas pointed out. “We call on industry and government to make full ingredient disclosure and easy-to-understand warning messages a reality on household product labels.”

Focus group results showed broad support for the introduction of health warning labels like those in the European Union that warn consumers of potential health risks associated with certain harmful chemicals. Product labels for household products in Canada are not adequately transparent. Fragrance mixtures are exempted from full ingredient listing rules.

“Canada is falling behind the European Union and U.S. jurisdictions like California when it comes to product labelling and ingredient disclosure,” Malas continued. “Canadians deserve stronger labelling rules that enable them to avoid toxic chemicals that put their health, families and environment at risk.”

California has required warning messages on consumer products containing toxic chemicals known to cause cancer or reproductive health issues such as BPA since 1987. As of this year, New York State will require full disclosure of cleaning product ingredients.

The study recommends the introduction of stronger federal and provincial product labelling rules for cleaning and personal care products to ensure full disclosure of product ingredients. Government departments should also mandate clear health warnings labels on products that contain cancer-causing and/or endocrine-disrupting chemicals.

Download the report: English | French

About ENVIRONMENTAL DEFENCE ( Environmental Defence is Canada’s most effective environmental action organization. We challenge, and inspire change in government, business and people to ensure a greener, healthier and prosperous life for all.


For more information (including the full focus groups results) or to arrange an interview, please contact:

Tim Ehlich, Environmental Defence, 647-468-3641 (cell);