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California enacts cleaning product law

Manufacturers will have to divulge ingredients

by Cheryl Hogue
October 17, 2017 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 95, Issue 42

Photo of cleaning products on store shelves.
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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