Media Contact: Sandra Haverlah,  

For Release: April 17, 2014

Click Here To Download Consumer Safety Paper

Texas Consumer Group Evaluates Causes of Product Safety Confusion

New Report Highlights Interest Group Campaigns Wrongly Targeting Widely-Used Chemicals, Leading to Unproven Substitutes in Consumer Products

(Austin, TX/April 17, 2014) – The Texas Consumer Association (TCA) today released a new report warning that substitutes for widely-used chemicals in consumer products may be unproven and leave consumers at risk.  The paper, titled “Assessing Consumer Product Safety: How Science Can Be Sidelined in Product Formulations,” notes that various interest group campaigns have led to the voluntary replacement of well-tested chemicals in consumer products, sometimes without disclosure of what kind of compounds are used as a replacement. 

The TCA report urges federal regulatory agencies like the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) – who are responsible for chemical reviews and overseeing products on store shelves across Texas and the nation – to ensure that regulations on consumer product formulations are based in rigorous scientific and product testing rather than well-intentioned but misdirected interest groups petitioning against chemical use broadly. 

“Consumers today are more attentive than ever, but it can still be difficult to separate fact from fiction,” Sandra Haverlah, President of the Texas Consumer Association said. “When small but vocal groups are able to effectively take the wheel and trump scientific analysis, it introduces the potential for real harm for consumers. Consumers aren’t protected by ‘what-ifs’ – we need a balanced, methodical process that ensures the safety of products hitting the shelves.”

In three case studies highlighting campaigns against BPA, phthalates, and parabens, the TCA report details the growing rift between what peer-reviewed science determines is safe and the messages from campaigns targeting certain substances. Consumer perceptions and buying habits are known to be significantly shaped by headlines, regardless of their legitimacy. 

“Consumers are stuck in the middle of these safety disputes,” says Haverlah. “Despite scientific evidence and federal approval for use in products, manufacturers continue to weigh the value of voluntarily swapping tested chemicals for alternative compounds, not based on health concerns, but instead on false public perception.”

The paper is the latest contribution by TCA to better inform consumers in Texas and nationwide about consumer product safety and expose the confusion that often exists surrounding consumer product safety. Haverlah, who has served as TCA’s president of the last decade, warns that mounting public pressures threaten to disrupt a strong regulatory process at the state and federal level.

Texas Consumer Association

Texas Consumer Association was founded to represent individuals and small businesses on pocketbook issues. For over 40 years, TCA has provided information and testimony on legislation that influences the family budget, participated on behalf of consumers on regulatory issues and offered information to the public regarding current issues that affect personal finances or quality of life. Sandra Haverlah has been working on consumer issues with the TCA since 1988 and has served as President of TCA for the last decade.

Click Here To Download Consumer Safety Paper