Did You Know...

Bill Walsh | April 08, 2009 | Policies

...The April 1 Edition of Healthy Building News Was A Spoof ?

Not USDA Organic

One reader asked to be deleted from our “greenwasher” mailing list, and another called me a “poop-head” after reading our April Fools Day edition of the Healthy Building News announcing the arrival of Organic Vinyl.  More than a few readers shared the sentiments of the correspondent who wrote that being taken in “makes me realize how jaded I’ve become and how little faith I have in the system.”  As if on cue, a former vinyl industry executive sent us this six word missive:  “Nice, Bill.  Strictly speaking, correct, too.”  Indeed, truth can be stranger than fiction.

Thanks to all who were such good sports.  We are pleased to report that the green building movement’s sense of humor is alive and well.  However, we did want to make sure that all of our subscribers were clear that the last newsletter was a spoof.  Vinyl has not earned the USDA Organic label, nor does there appear to be a way for it to do so under the law.

Just to be sure that we have not lost your trust, we wanted you to know that the topic of our March 24th Healthy Building News, was explored further in a Wall Street Journal article (April 2, 2009) entitled: Household Products Start to Come Clean on Ingredients.  In March, HBN’s Program Director, Paul Bogart, observed: “If purchasing power is the new battleground, then ingredient disclosure is at the front line.”  The Journal reports that under pressure from advocacy groups, manufacturers of household cleaning products “recently set up joint guidelines to encourage use of a standardized format for presenting the technical information.”  

Although many commercial cleaning products have earned the reputable Green Seal label, that is not proving to be enough for consumers who want information, so they can judge for themselves.  The emerging demand for information, not just certification, is good news for consumers, bad news for practical jokers.