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New Bill Would Disclose Cleaning Product Ingredients

New Bill Would Disclose Cleaning Product Ingredients

Author: Jack Schatz/Wednesday, February 08, 2017/Categories: California Legislation, California Law and Regulation, Prop65, Regulatory Proposals

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California State Sen. Ricardo Lara, (D-Bell Gardens), today introduced legislation to require manufacturers to disclose the ingredients in cleaning products used by consumers and professional cleaning workers. If the bill passes, it would be the first law to require the disclosure of cleaning product ingredients to take effect in the nation.

 

The Cleaning Product Right to Know Act calls for manufacturers to disclose the product’s ingredients and contaminants of concern, in order of concentration – including the chemicals used in fragrance mixtures – both on the product label and online. It is co-sponsored by the Environmental Working Group, the Breast Cancer Fund and Women’s Voices for the Earth.

 

“We trust Californians to check the labels on food, drugs and cosmetics, but you have to be a chemist to know what is in the cleaning products that are under your kitchen sink,” said Lara. “The Cleaning Product Right to Know Act will require companies to come clean about their ingredients so California consumers and domestic workers have the right to know what they are buying and using, and can make informed choices.”

 

Bill Allayaud, California director of government affairs for EWG, said that despite growing consumer demand and some movement by the industry, transparency about what’s in cleaning products is still lacking. 

 

“It’s time to end the secrecy about ingredients in cleaning products,” said Allayaud. “Senator Lara’s legislation gives shoppers the power to make informed buying choices for themselves and their families.” 

 

Unilever announced  yesterday it will provide detailed information on fragrance ingredients for all personal care products in its multi-billion-dollar portfolio. But most companies resist calls for disclosure and use the term “fragrance” to hide hundreds of chemicals, including known allergens, Allayaud says.

 

SB 258 would require disclosure of all ingredients in cleaning products, but would not require companies to reveal the concentrations of ingredients, or how the product is formulated and processed.

 

Even cleaning products advertised as “green” or “natural” may contain ingredients that can cause health problems. Manufacturers can use almost any ingredient they choose, including known carcinogens and substances known to pose health or environmental hazards.

  

Many manufacturers of cleaners make it difficult, if not impossible, for consumers to learn what ingredients are in products. Manufacturers don't want shoppers to know that their products contain chemicals that can cause reproductive problems, exacerbate asthma, burn or irritate skin, and harm the environment.  

 

“It’s past time that California consumers have the vital information they need to make informed choices in the marketplace,” said Kathryn Alcantar, California policy director for the Center for Environmental Health. “For more than 20 years, CEH’s work to enforce product warning laws has led to business innovations for safer products for children and families in California and throughout the country. With this bill, California will deepen its leadership in encouraging the most cutting-edge business practices to meet the global demand for safer products made without harmful chemicals,” Alcanter said.

 

Last year, California lawmakers narrowly voted down a similar bill, AB 708 that would have required cleaning product manufacturers to provide a full list of product ingredients on its website.

Phil Klein, the Consumer Specialty Products Association (CSPA) vice president for legislative and public affairs, recently said he expects California to introduce similar legislation to the bill that failed last year. He said New York is "seriously considering" a similar measure.

Klein also said there is also increased advocacy on Capitol Hill for manufacturers to have to list the ingredients in their products. Increasing pressure from advocacy groups seeking to expand consumers' access to information on the substances products contain has fueled the recent push for legislation that would require disclosure of ingredients.

"We want to find the balance on transparency, and the need to protect confidential business information, he said. “We plan to roll up our sleeves with the NGO community and find a more common ground." 

Proponents of the bill believe that rather than disclose ingredients that raise health concerns among consumers, some companies will likely reformulate their products and improve safety.

California State Sen. Ricardo Lara, (D-Bell Gardens), today introduced legislation to require manufacturers to disclose the ingredients in cleaning products used by consumers and professional cleaning workers. If the bill passes, it would be the first law to require the disclosure of cleaning product ingredients to take effect in the nation.

 

The Cleaning Product Right to Know Act calls for manufacturers to disclose the product’s ingredients and contaminants of concern, in order of concentration – including the chemicals used in fragrance mixtures – both on the product label and online. It is co-sponsored by the Environmental Working Group, the Breast Cancer Fund and Women’s Voices for the Earth.

 

“We trust Californians to check the labels on food, drugs and cosmetics, but you have to be a chemist to know what is in the cleaning products that are under your kitchen sink,” said Lara. “The Cleaning Product Right to Know Act will require companies to come clean about their ingredients so California consumers and domestic workers have the right to know what they are buying and using, and can make informed choices.”

 

Bill Allayaud, California director of government affairs for EWG, said that despite growing consumer demand and some movement by the industry, transparency about what’s in cleaning products is still lacking. 

 

“It’s time to end the secrecy about ingredients in cleaning products,” said Allayaud. “Senator Lara’s legislation gives shoppers the power to make informed buying choices for themselves and their families.” 

 

SB 258 would require disclosure of all ingredients in cleaning products, but would not require companies to reveal the concentrations of ingredients, or how the product is formulated and processed.

 

Even cleaning products advertised as “green” or “natural” may contain ingredients that can cause health problems. Manufacturers can use almost any ingredient they choose, including known carcinogens and substances known to pose health or environmental hazards.

  

Many manufacturers of cleaners make it difficult, if not impossible, for consumers to learn what ingredients are in products. Manufacturers don't want shoppers to know that their products contain chemicals that can cause reproductive problems, exacerbate asthma, burn or irritate skin, and harm the environment.  

 

“It’s past time that California consumers have the vital information they need to make informed choices in the marketplace,” said Kathryn Alcantar, California policy director for the Center for Environmental Health. “For more than 20 years, CEH’s work to enforce product warning laws has led to business innovations for safer products for children and families in California and throughout the country. With this bill, California will deepen its leadership in encouraging the most cutting-edge business practices to meet the global demand for safer products made without harmful chemicals,” Alcanter said.

 

Last year, California lawmakers narrowly voted down a similar bill, AB 708 that would have required cleaning product manufacturers to provide a full list of product ingredients on its website.

Phil Klein, the Consumer Specialty Products Association (CSPA) vice president for legislative and public affairs, recently said he expects California to introduce similar legislation to the bill that failed last year. He said New York is seriously considering” a similar measure.

Klein also said there is also increased advocacy on Capitol Hill for manufacturers to have to list the ingredients in their products. Increasing pressure from advocacy groups seeking to expand consumers' access to information on the substances not hidden in products has fueled the recent push for legislation that would require disclosure of ingredients.

"We want to find the balance on transparency, and the need to protect confidential business information, he said. “We plan to roll up our sleeves with the NGO community and find a more common ground." 

Proponents of the bill believe that rather than disclose ingredients that raise health concerns among consumers, some companies will likely reformulate their products and improve safety.

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