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Consumer Safety

US groups back principles for chemical ingredient disclosure

Action said to help development of a circular economy

by Cheryl Hogue
July 8, 2021 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 99, Issue 25


Photo shows woman looking at the label of a cosmetics container in a store.
Credit: Shutterstock
New principles for chemical ingredient disclosure include by-products and breakdown products that pose hazards to human health or the environment.

US businesses, state regulators, and health advocacy groups are endorsing principles for disclosing chemical ingredients in products.

With the exception of substantiated trade secrets, the principles call for companies to disclose all ingredients they intentionally add to their products. They also ask manufacturers to disclose any incidental components, breakdown products, or by-products that pose known or suspected hazards to human health or the environment. Such disclosures would include carcinogens, mutagens, endocrine disruptors, allergens, and substances that can cause reproductive or developmental problems.

In addition, the principles seek more toxicity data so the hazards of chemicals used in products can be better understood.

“The requirement for chemical ingredient disclosure will increase as demand grows for a circular economy that aims to reuse and recycle products,” says Mark Rossi of Clean Production Action, a group that promotes development and use of green chemicals, sustainable materials, and other environmentally preferable products. Hazardous chemicals have ended up in some plastic cutlery and children’s toys made from recycled plastic because the recyclers didn’t know the substances were in the material, Rossi says in a statement.

Organizations backing the principles, which include investment firms and makers of cosmetics and cleaning products, say they hope to drive the development and use of safer chemicals.

Clean Production Action co-led the effort to craft the principles with the Interstate Chemicals Clearinghouse, an association of state, local, and tribal governments.



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