BREAKING: Cleaning Products Come Clean on Ingredients in California
WTF?! is in our cleaning products? Have you ever noticed that the ingredients aren't even included on the bottle? Well, that's because they aren't required to be. Crazy, right? Think about it, we constantly check the labels on our food and personal care products, why wouldn't we know what we're using all over the surfaces of our homes?
In 2016, a few California legislators, NGOs (Women's Voices for the Earth, Breast Cancer Prevention Partners, & EWG), and non toxic companies (Seventh Generation & The Honest Company) decided to fight for consumers right to know what's in their cleaning products. We spend a lot of time in our homes, and these days indoor air quality is just as much of a concern as outdoor air quality. What we spray in our indoor space matters to our health and wellbeing. So, they introduced the Cleaning Product Right To Know Act to address these potentially dangerous ingredients in cleaning products.
This bill requires cleaning products to bear a label with, and requires manufacturers to include on their websites, a list of all of the product's ingredients (including individual ingredients in dyes, fragrances, and preservatives) in descending order of predominance by weight, except that ingredients that constitute less than 1% of the product can be listed at the end in any order. Product websites must include: (1) the CAS Registry Number of each ingredient, and (2) an explanation of each ingredient's purpose.
A product that is not in conformity with the labeling and website listing requirements shall be treated as a misbranded hazardous substance under the Federal Hazardous Substances Act.
A person may petition the Consumer Product Safety Commission to investigate claims that a product does not satisfy these requirements.
What this means for consumers?
Until now, consumers have been kept in the dark about cleaning product ingredients and the industry loopholes that allow them to hide allergic and carcinogenic ingredients. They can spin it however way they want, but the bottom line is that brands don't want consumers to know their products contain ingredients that can cause reproductive toxicity, asthma, burns or skin irritations, and serious harm to the environment.
The passing of this legislation no longer allows those companies to get away with using harmful ingredients without consumer knowledge.
“This is truly a breakthrough! For the first time ever companies will be legally required to disclose ingredients in fragrance,” said Jamie McConnell, director of programs and policy at Women’s Voices for the Earth. “But passing SB 258 isn’t simply about listing ingredients – it’s about eliminating the barriers that prevent women and men from having the information they need to avoid concerning ingredients like powerful allergens, or synthetic musks linked to breast cancer, or known hormone disruptors like phthalates – all of which can be found in fragrance. Calling this bill a game-changer is an under-statement. This is going to change lives.” (Quote from EWG)
Why is this so exciting?
Consumers have been demanding more transparency from companies and are no longer satisfied with the claim of "green" or "natural" when it comes to getting safer products. We know those claims mean nothing when the companies won't voluntarily disclose their ingredients. For the first time ever they will have to do just that, and will even have to disclose the ingredients within the "Fragrance" ingredient. This is HUGE. California has gotten the ball rolling for the rest of the nation to take charge in their indoor air quality health. An example has been set and the demand for ingredient transparency is clear.
We have the right to know what is in our products.
We want to thank all the hard work done by Women's Voices for the Earth, Breast Cancer Prevention Partners, and EWG, as well as companies like Seventh Generation and The Honest Company that drive this change, and voluntarily disclose ingredients without requirement.
Learn more about this victory at ewg.org.