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May
18
California Considers Bill For Chemical Disclosure In Cleaning Products.

'Unprecedented' ingredient transparency would be required in all Cleaning products'

Biocides - Cleaning fluids © oleksajewicz - Fotolia.com
Back in January 2016, a California bill that would require manufacturers to fully disclose chemical ingredients in cleaning products has raised industry concerns over protection of trade secrets, while NGOs say the measure is needed to allow consumers to make informed purchasing decisions.
The bill (AB 708) requires manufacturers of cleaning products – including air care products, automotive cleaning products and floor polishes – to indicate on product labels the 20 most predominant ingredients. These would also need to disclose the presence of any substances listed as candidate chemicals, under the Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) Safer Consumer Products program.
If a product contains more than 20 ingredients, the manufacturers would have to indicate on the label that a full list is available on its website.
Jamie McConnell, director of programs and policy at the NGO Women's Voices for the Earth, says that the bill “is the result of consumer demand”.
“AB 708 will standardize ingredient disclosure across the industry, making it easy for consumers to find the information they need to make informed decisions about the products they want to purchase,” she says.
The bill has the backing of several NGOs, which hosted a January rally in Sacramento in support of it.
Yet a variety of industry groups staunchly opposed the measure.
Douglas Troutman, general counsel and vice president of government affairs at the American Cleaning Institute (ACI), says that the trade group's advocacy has been “public and thorough” in opposition to the bill.
According to Mr Troutman, much of the cleaning products industry is already voluntarily disclosing chemical ingredients due to consumer demands.
“Industry is responding without the need for oversight,” he says. “The need for this legislation is zero.”
“Significant concerns remain about protecting manufacturer product innovations and formulas,” says Kristin Power, vice president of state affairs for the Consumer Specialty Products Association (CSPA). “Manufacturers should have flexibility in how they choose to communicate information to their consumers,” she adds.
The CSPA will be holding a fly-in in Sacramento on 13 January to give members a chance to voice their concerns to legislators.
The International Fragrance Association's director of government affairs, Megan Ekstrom, says that the level of disclosure that would be required under AB 708 would be “unprecedented” for fragrances.
The trade group is “very much against the provisions in the bill that would require the disclosure of a fragrance formulation”, she adds.
Fragrance disclosure is a “hot spot”, agrees Nancy Buermeyer, senior policy strategist with the Breast Cancer Fund – an NGO that backs the bill. But, the organisation considers the provisions to be “very important” to ensure consumers can make informed decisions.
Says Ms Buermeyer, “the time has come, and consumers are increasingly concerned about what they're exposed to in their homes. We are pushing hard to get this through.”
The California assembly had until 31 January to pass the measure in order for it to be taken up in the Senate. The bill was expected to come to the floor for a vote in the final days of the month.

Outcome

Section 108952. The manufacturer of a cleaning product manufactured after January 1, 2017, for retail sale in this state, shall disclose each ingredient contained in the product on the manufacturer’s Internet Website and provide the Internet Web site and page address on the label of the cleaning product along with a statement directing the consumer to the Internet Web site for a full list of ingredients contained in the product. Each ingredient shall have an explanation of its purpose for being in the cleaning product on the manufacturer’s Internet Web site.


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