A new bill introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives is calling for full disclosure of ingredients in cleaning products to be listed on product labels or packaging.
The bill, introduced on May 12 by Rep. Steve Israel (D-NY), would require that companies move from non-specific terms such as preservative or colorant to identifying specific chemicals by name.
Titled The Cleaning Product Right to Know Act of 2016, the bill would require the U.S., Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) to promulgate regulations that would standardize labeling laws for cleaning product chemicals, and establish the authority for CPSC to enforce the new regulations. The Act would also mandate that manufacturers disclose each ingredient’s Chemical Abstract Service identification number and disclose the ingredient’s function on product websites.
Recently, several companies have made a point of disclosing their chemical ingredients in cleaning products. Among them are The Honest Company, Seventh Generation and larger manufacturers such as The Clorox Company, now provide ingredient information on their websites.
However, a recent report by the Environmental Working Group, found that only approximately one-fourth of about 400 cleaning products analyzed currently disclose chemical ingredients.
Supporters of the bill argue that consumers have a right to know about the chemicals that may include ingredients that may cause lung irritation or contain carcinogens such as formaldehyde, methylene chloride and 1-4-dioxane.
The bill would require:
● Manufacturers of household and institutional cleaners to list all of the ingredients on the product label.
● List the ingredients using a hierarchy of nomenclature systems starting with the International Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredients (INCI) name, followed by the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) and common chemical name to ensure that companies use the same names for each chemical.
● Manufacturers would be required to substantiate all trade secret claims to the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
● The Act would not grant trade secret protection to Ingredients that are publicly known to be in the product, or can be discovered through reverse engineering, or if they are hazardous (as defined by the Act).
● Requires manufacturers to disclose product ingredients and Chemical Abstract Services (CAS) Registry Number on a website, and requires manufacturers to identify adverse health effects of each ingredient. The information must be sortable by product, ingredient, or adverse health effect, among other categories the Commission identifies.
A California Assembly Bill also entitled The Cleaning Product Right to Know Act (AB 708) was introduced in the State legislature in February 2015.
The California bill would have required the disclosure of the top 20 ingredients found in cleaning products by volume, and would have required disclosure of the remaining ingredients on product websites.
The bill was suspended on January 28, 2016 by a vote of 33-28).
The outcome was attributed to an aggressive industry coalition lobbying effort and the participation of many National Aerosol Association members.