Labels are instrumental in ensuring the safety of millions of people in many different ways. When you think of security labels, you may think about protecting items like factory machinery, or office equipment like computers and other devices. But security labels are also used to protect human health and our environment.
Labels Provide Clarity
In terms of text labels, individuals can know what ingredients are contained in food and pharmaceuticals. However they can also help to facilitate understanding when information is presented on labels using simple images in addition to or instead of text. In countries with low or poor literacy, products labelled with simple images can save lives, allowing for readability regardless of literacy level.
Help for the Environment
In addition to helping secure human health, labels also help to secure the health of the environment. With landfills quickly filling in the UK, and aggressive targets in place to reduce the amount of waste that goes to them, labels are absolutely crucial.
Labels alert consumers about the ability of certain products to be recycled. They also keep consumers informed about the amount of recycled content in the products they use, which can inspire more recycling activity.
The confusion surrounding which bins to use for which products can also be avoided by clearly labelling each recycling bin for its respective product so that consumers can recycle more efficiently.
Possible Allergens and Toxicity
Allergies are on the rise, it seems; it is estimated that as many as one in fifty infants now suffer from a nut allergy. These kinds of allergies can cause anaphylaxis to occur, which can lead to a far more serious condition if not addressed immediately. Some nut allergy sufferers are so sensitive to these triggers that they cannot even be in the same room with peanuts without having an allergic reaction.
In these cases, it is vital to know what is contained in the foods you either buy for your allergic child or for the sake of your child’s allergic school mates. Many schools have now banned peanut products altogether, and manufacturers of products like snack bars are now ensuring the safety of their products and communicating their creation in a nut-free facility via their product labels.
Potentially poisonous products are also communicated using warning labels. For example, the chemicals in lice treatments require a certain degree of caution when using and applying. Certain restrictions also apply to the disposal of the containers these treatments are sold in.
Whilst the increased use of warning labels is a very good thing, there are some cases where work is still needed. Many are of the opinion that certain types of labels should be standardised for easy reading and interpretation, regardless of where the reader is located.
Standardisation of the information on labels is a good idea. However, it does require participation on a global scale, as well as a consensus on the most effective labels. This has already been accomplished in some industries, but takes time and resources to implement correctly.
With labels being used on so many products, and considering the increasing urgency to lower our carbon footprint, it only makes sense that the labels themselves are made to be biodegradable wherever possible. These eco-labels are already in place on many products, and are made either from materials which have previously been recycled, or made of biodegradable materials. They can also contain both. Eco-labels can also contain natural adhesives to ensure their complete breakdown, and can be manufactured without the use of wood-sourced paper, such as is the case with plant fibre labels. Even the coatings on these labels can be eco-friendly, as is the case when corn is used to make the coating film instead of petroleum.
With the world seeming to move at a faster pace than ever before, there is no doubt that our reliance on the information communicated by labels is increasing.