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November 13, 2017
California passes cleaning products disclosure law

In October 2017, Governor Jerry Brown signed into law the Clean Product Right-to-Know Act of 2017, making California the second state to require manufacturers to publicly disclose the ingredients in cleaning products. New York State requires posting of cleaning product ingredients on the manufacturers website. The California law requires both disclosure online and labeling on the products themselves.

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Image credit: Okea / iStock / Getty Images Plus / Getty Images

According to California State Senator Ricardo Lara, the main sponsor of the law, environmental and health advocates met with industry representatives for more than 6 months to hammer out a compromise bill. Industry was successful in ensuring that the law contained a provision to protect trade secrets. Support was voiced by companies subject to the law, including Proctor & Gamble, WD-40 Company, SC Johnson, Seventh Generation, and Unilever. Several of these companies previously voluntarily provided information required by the law.

Provisions

The law requires:

  • That intentionally added ingredients be listed in descending order of predominance by weight in the product. Ingredients with a weight below one percent may be listed following the other ingredients without respect to the order of predominance by weight;
  • That employers make the required online chemical information in covered cleaning products readily available to employees;
  • A statement that reads “Contains fragrance allergen(s)” on the product label when a fragrance allergen listed under the European Union’s cosmetics regulation is an ingredient; and
  • Online listing of ingredients by January 1, 2020, and on-package disclosure by January 1, 2021.

Manufacturers are not required to disclose the weight or amount of an intentionally added ingredient they claim to be confidential business information (CBI) or disclose how a product is manufactured. A manufacturer is required to identify CBI ingredients only by their generic names.

Industry endorsements

“Because of this legislation, consumers will have the opportunity to make more informed choices for their families, regardless of the product or the company who makes it,” said Fisk Johnson, chairman and CEO of SC Johnson. “At SC Johnson, we have been sharing the ingredients in our products with consumers for nearly 10 years. Now that the entire industry will be sharing this information, we’ll continue to champion the need for greater ingredient transparency and remain committed to going further”"

The Consumer Specialty Products Association (CSPA), an industry association, was involved in the legislative negotiations and also welcomed the law. “Our collective efforts resulted in a balanced law which protects manufacturers’ formula innovation investments while also providing understandable product ingredient information to consumers and workers,” said Stephen J. Caldeira, CSPA’s president and CEO.

The text of the law is here.

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