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Policy

California enacts cleaning product law

Manufacturers will have to divulge ingredients

by Cheryl Hogue
October 17, 2017 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 95, ISSUE 42

Credit: Dave Nelson/Shutterstock

Makers of cleaning products sold in California will have to reveal ingredients online and on product labels, under a first-of-its-kind law signed by Gov. Jerry Brown (D) on Oct. 15. New York is expected soon to finalize a regulation requiring similar disclosure of cleaning product ingredients.

“People around the country and especially Californians are demanding more disclosure about the chemicals in products we use,” says California state Sen. Ricardo Lara (D), who sponsored the legislation.

The California law applies to ingredients in general cleaning, air care, automobile care, and floor maintenance products. Fragrance compounds that are listed as allergens by the European Union must be disclosed. The chemical identities of other fragrance compounds, ingredients that are trade secrets, and colorants are exempt from disclosure.

Manufacturers will have to provide information about ingredients on product websites as of 2020. The law requires ingredients be listed on labels of cleaning product sold in the state starting in 2021.

The Consumer Specialty Products Association, an organization of companies that formulate affected products, backs the California measure. CSPA says the new law balances consumer and worker demands for information with businesses’ needs to protect proprietary data.

Companies supporting the bill include cleaning product makers Procter & Gamble, Reckitt Benckiser, SC Johnson, Seventh Generation, Unilever, and WD40, and fragrance maker Givaudan.

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Comments
Will Beuscher (October 18, 2017 4:42 PM)
As someone with “multiple chemical sensitivity”, I feel that it is a dangerous omission to exclude “fragrance” chemicals from this important listing of ingredients. There are over 3000 possible individual chemicals which can be included in any given product’s “cocktail” of these chemicals, which they identify as protected by proprietary information. Allergists find nothing wrong with me, and yet I have been sent to the hospital twice by exposure to these fragrance chemicals with a major full body rash, nausea, headaches, and a racing heart. I have learned to manage my metabolism Naturally, but the fragrances are always heinously strong, offensive, and still cause headaches and dry eyes. Most of these secret chemicals are untested, especially considering the recent weakening of the 1977 toxic substances control act. And according to Dr. Anne Steinemann, who specializes in the toxicity of household chemicals, many of these chemicals are carcinogenic. I strongly recommend that people move aggressively to work for complete exposure of every single ingredient, for the protection of human health as well as the water supplies of the world and the natural environment. Ultimately they should be banned from human products, there is plenty of evidence to show their danger, and corporate profits are definitely not a trump card for these more important human considerations.
EV International (October 20, 2017 12:02 AM)
WAY TO GO CALIFORNIA! we always said in our showings that cleaning chemicals needed to be more open about what they contain.

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