Approach seeks identification of 'chemicals of concern'
28 April 2017 / Cleaning products, Confidentiality & right-to-know, United States
New York is set to become the first US state to require cleaning product manufacturers to publicly disclose ingredients and to identify chemicals of concern used in formulations.
As announced by Governor Andrew Cuomo earlier this year, the state is introducing the Household Cleaning Product Information Disclosure programme under a 47-year-old and once-forgotten state law. The state's Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) released a draft certification form and guidance document for public consultation earlier this week.
The draft calls for manufacturers of covered household cleaning products – which include soaps and detergents used for cleaning fabrics, dishes and other purposes – to disclose on their websites a list of all ingredients, including those present in trace quantities. Substances should be listed in descending order of quantity, with each one's content by weight and functional role indicated.
The rule proposes allowing certain exclusions for protection of confidential business information (CBI), including for fragrance ingredients.
A separate provision would also require manufacturers to identify the presence of any 'chemicals of concern'. These include substances found on any of 16 state-identified 'authoritative lists' or those with certain hazard characteristics. They include:
• those identified by the US EPA as chemicals of concern, PBTs, priority chemicals, or ozone-depleting substances;
• the EU Endocrine Disruptor list and list of substances of very high concern (SVHCs);
• substances listed as reproductive toxicants or carcinogens under California’s Proposition 65;
• chemicals classified as a group 1, 2a or 2b by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (Iarc); and
• those ingredients classified under the GHS as skin or eye irritants, respiratory or skin sensitisers, mutagens or aquatic toxicants.
Each list on which an ingredient appears, together with a link to the authoritative source, should be included in the listing. The requirement would also extend to those ingredients protected as CBI.
The DEC has also proposed that manufacturers post information "regarding the nature and extent of investigations and research performed by or for the manufacturer concerning the effects on human health and the environment" of products and their ingredients.
Ingredient disclosure debate continues
DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos said the new programme "will reduce contamination and human exposure to these chemicals of concern" and lauded Governor Cuomo's efforts to introduce the new regulations.
But the American Cleaning Institute (ACI) issued a statement saying that "consumers should understand that cleaning product manufacturers already provide detailed information online about the ingredients in the products they use safety and effectively every day".
The industry's voluntary Consumer Product Ingredient Communication Initiative, it added, offers "flexibility … [that] facilitates strong marketplace ingredient communication by manufacturers with the customer base they serve."
The trade group says it will be providing in-depth comments by the state's consultation deadline.
Ingredient disclosure has been a major issue for both state and federal legislators in recent years. So-called ‘right to know’ legislation has been introduced in more than half a dozen states this year, addressing such product categories as household cleaners, cosmetics, toys and electronics.
A California bill that would have required cleaning product ingredient disclosure – including for fragrances – was narrowly voted down last year. The current legislature has reintroduced the Cleaning Products Right to Know Act of 2017, which is currently working its way through committee.