The California legislature has passed a bill that would require increased disclosure of ingredients in cleaning products. The passage of the measure came after stakeholders reached a compromise that addressed industry concerns about protecting confidential business information. The accord was reached following negotiations that had been in progress for several months before a vote in the State Assembly.
Governor Brown has not said whether he will sign the measure, which was approved by the Assembly on Sept 12 and by the State Senate the next day, however, most observers believe that Gov. Brown will sign the bill.
The original version of The Cleaning Product Right to Know Act (SB 258) would have required manufacturers to list all ingredients on the label, indicate any that are “contaminants of concern”, and include a pictogram communicating health concerns.
The final version deleted the requirement to include a pictogram and jettisoned the provision to list on the label of only those chemicals that are “of concern” because those chemicals appear on any of 23 specified lists of toxicants, maintained by state or federal agencies in the U.S. and other countries. The labels must also contain a website address where the full list of product ingredients can be found.
Compromises and Concessions
The most significant concession in the negotiations leading up to the final bill’s passage was a provision that specifies that the measure’s requirements cover only “intentionally added” ingredients, allowing product manufacturers to omit listing those whose identity is considered confidential. To qualify, a chemical or substance must be included on the TSCA Confidential Inventory or the manufacturer must have claimed protection for it under the Uniform Trade Secrets Act.
The original bill had required labeling of any cleaning product, manufactured or sold in California on or after July 1, 2018. However the final measure’s online disclosure requirements take effect on January 1, 2020, and the labeling requirements take effect a year later.
The version of the bill approved by the California Senate on May 30 was opposed by several industry groups, like a similar bill that failed in 2016. In response, the bill’s sponsor, Senator Ricardo Lara (D), convened a working group of stakeholders that negotiated for nearly six months to produce the compromise.
The Consumer Specialty Products Association (CSPA) joined in the statement of support, with the Environmental Working Group saying the final measure “provides meaningful and understandable information to consumers and workers, while also protecting significant financial investments that companies have made in product innovation.”
Other industry groups previously opposed to earlier versions of the bill, such as the American Cleaning Institute (ACI), dropped their opposition without actively supporting the compromise.