From arsenic pills to cancer-inducing moisturizers, toxic products have been harming humans for centuries. Asbestos · Radium · Lead · Mercury. These toxic stuffs still appear in products imported every day over the internet

Many brands, notoriously both fast fashion and sex toy brands, use toxic chemicals like PFAS and phthalates. There are forever chemicals too which are doing goodness knows what to future generations and the environment.

For example, scientists recently found that a jacket for toddlers, purchased from Chinese retailer Shein, contained almost 20 times the amount of lead that Health Canada says is safe for children. A red purse, also purchased from Shein, had more than five times the threshold.

Consumers face less risk getting sick from these ingredients in clothing than textile plant workers do. However, both matter, and consumers can do something about this - product testing.

As someone who uses sites like AliExpress, I appreciate low price products and don't mind my money going to sellers and workers in poorer countries - in fact, they often will need the money more.

But, I don't want to get cancer, or goodness knows what.

Product testing is one way of preventing unsafe products from proliferating. In markets, and ensuring suppliers behave responsibly, because standards differ from country to country.

But, a regular consumer will not be able to afford to organise testing on their own. I certainly couldn't - it would obviously make the cost of a cheap product suddenly prohibitive.

So, what about a service that either crowdfunded product safety and certification, or worked with big retailers like Amazon to build consumer confidence in the products they shop for?

Then, the funds could be used to:

-conduct our own testing, using suitable in-house expertise and facilities -commission a certification agency to assess products and provide written certification of compliance with safety standards. This enables you to use certification labelling on relevant products

  • commission reliable, independent and preferably accredited laboratories to test products and issue you with test reports

I've asked online sellers for their own reports before and sometimes got them but who knows if you can trust their reports, which are often in foreign languages to boot

If anyone wants to work on this - shoot me a message!


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