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Right to Know Act Mandates Ingredient Disclosures on Labels and Online

In a major victory for consumers’ and workers’ right-to-know, California Gov. Jerry Brown has signed a bill into law that requires manufacturers of a wide array of cleaning products to disclose ingredients.

The Cleaning Product Right to Know Act of 2017, Senate Bill 258, authored by Sen. Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens) requires the ingredients in cleaning products to be listed on both product labels and online. This applies particularly to chemicals whose ability to harm human health or the environment has been recognized by established scientific authoritative bodies. Under this law, the mandatory disclosure also applies to ingredients in fragrance mixtures, which have been tightly held secrets until now.

Lara facilitated a successful series of negotiations between NGOs and industry stakeholders, which achieved a carefully crafted compromise that won the final approval of California legislators in mid-September. The agreement provides the increased transparency consumers and workers want, while allowing companies to protect trade secrets only for chemicals not linked to negative impacts on human health or the environment.

The legislation garnered the early support of companies that already practice ingredient transparency, including Seventh Generation and The Honest Company, and also some of the world’s largest cleaning product companies, including Ecolab, Procter & Gamble, Reckitt Benckiser, SC Johnson and WD-40, along with their trade association, the Consumer Specialty Products Association.

“California will be the first in the nation to clear the air for consumers and workers about what is in their cleaning products. Consumers are demanding transparency and the Cleaning Product Right to Know Act will set a strong national standard. Consumer advocates and manufacturers worked together to disclose potentially harmful ingredients, while allowing businesses to protect proprietary information and retain some flexibility,” says Lara.

For more information, visit CA.gov.

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