Senator Lara Introduces Bill to Require Companies ‘Come Clean’ on Cleaning Product Ingredients

February 08, 2017

Cleaning Product Right to Know Act of 2017 (Senate Bill 258) will require companies to list ingredients on labels and online to help protect consumers and workers – a first in the nation

Today Senator Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens) introduced the Cleaning Product Right to Know Act of 2017 (SB 258) to require detailed ingredient labels on cleaning products sold in the state. The bill will give full disclosure about what is in the products millions of families and domestic workers use every day.

“We trust Californians to check the labels on food, drugs and cosmetics, but you have to be a chemist to know what is in the cleaning products that are under your kitchen sink,” said Senator Lara. “The Cleaning Product Right to Know Act will require companies to come clean about their ingredients so California consumers and domestic workers have the right to know what they are buying and using and can make informed choices.”

The Cleaning Product Right to Know Act is supported by domestic workers, work safety groups, women’s health advocates, environmental and environmental justice groups, public health groups, and makers of cleaning products that already voluntarily release their product ingredients.

“Women are still doing the majority of housework and are the majority of those in the housekeeping industry, and as a result women bear the burden of exposure to harmful chemicals in cleaning products that can cause birth defects, asthma, infertility, and even cancer,” said Jamie McConnell, Director of Programs and Policy for Women’s Voices for the Earth, a principal sponsor of the Cleaning Product Right to Know Act. “Senator Lara’s bill will give women the power to avoid harmful chemicals that may impact their health.”

“Many cleaning products take away dirt and grime, but leave behind harmful chemicals, including some ingredients linked to breast cancer,” said Nancy Buermeyer, senior policy strategist for the Breast Cancer Fund, a principal sponsor. “Consumers have a right to know what’s in the products we buy so we can protect our families from potentially harmful chemical ingredients.”

“Senator Lara’s legislation acknowledges that consumer demand to know what is in their products continues to skyrocket, and while some manufacturers are voluntarily disclosing more and more of their ingredients, full disclosure is needed,” said Bill Allayaud, California Director of Government Affairs for the Environmental Working Group, a principal sponsor.

Cleaning products contain thousands of chemicals, many of which are toxic and have been associated with cancer, asthma and other respiratory damage, skin allergies, and reproductive, developmental and hormonal changes. Studies have shown that toxic chemicals from cleaning products can be found in urine, breast milk, and blood – including the umbilical cord blood of newborns.

The Cleaning Product Right to Know Act will require cleaning products to list ingredients on labels and online, including any hazardous chemicals. Current laws require ingredient listing in foods, drugs and cosmetics, but exclude cleaning products. Proposition 65, passed by voters in 1986, requires that product manufacturers disclose the presence of potentially toxic chemicals, but does not require product labeling.

The dangers of unknown chemicals are present at home and in the workplace, and janitorial workers and domestic cleaners have higher rates of asthma, respiratory illnesses and birth defects than other workers. The Cleaning Product Right to Know Act will protect vulnerable populations including children, pregnant women, cancer survivors, and individuals with health conditions and chemical sensitivities. It will also allow consumers to address pollution concerns; chemicals from laundry detergents are common in North American streams.

“We’ve all heard the expression that sunlight is the best disinfectant, and the Cleaning Product Right to Know Act will shine a light on the products families and workers use every day,” said Senator Lara.