New Labeling Requirements for Cleaning Products

Any hazardous chemicals found in household cleaning products will have to be clearly disclosed on labels and published online under a California law that will be phased in over the next three years.  On October 15, 2017, California Governor Jerry Brown signed California Senate Bill (S.B.) 258, the Cleaning Product Right to Know Act of 2017, which will require manufacturers of cleaning products to disclose certain chemical ingredients on the product label and on the manufacturer’s website.  The ingredients must be posted online by manufacturers in 2020, and on product labels by 2021.  SB 258 applies to a finished product that is an air care product, automotive product, general cleaning product or a polish or floor maintenance product.  Excluded products include personal care products such as toothpaste, shampoo and hand soap.

According to the author of the bill, State Senator Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens); “People around the country and especially Californians are demanding more disclosure about the chemicals in products we use,” According to the press release, a poll commissioned by bill sponsors showed 78 percent of California voters support requiring ingredient disclosure.  The bill was co-sponsored by numerous non-governmental organizations (e.g. Breast Cancer Prevention Partners, Environmental Working Group, etc) and manufacturers of cleaning products.  Despite many manufacturers supported the bill, there was still significant industry opposition.  This is the first cleaning product disclosure legislation in the country and will likely result in new labeling of cleaning products sold nationwide.  The State of New York is reportedly issuing a similar initiative.  There is also a federal House Resolution (H.R. 2728); Cleaning Product Labeling Act of 2017, which is currently going through committee.  In my experience, consumers typically use cleaning products which work best.  Will the labeling requirements lead to consumers being more aware of what they are buying and perhaps forcing manufacturers to change their ingredients?  Time will tell.