Report: Major Cleaning Product Makers Withhold Ingredient Information | WAMC

Report: Major Cleaning Product Makers Withhold Ingredient Information

Sep 4, 2020

A new report finds major household cleaning product makers are withholding ingredient information, putting consumers at a disadvantage.

Clean and Healthy New York looked into ingredient disclosure by major cleaning production manufacturers .

The report found that four of the five companies are substantially in compliance with California legal requirements, but none of the companies have incorporated 50% of NYS Best Management Practices.

Clean and Healthy New York Deputy Director Bobbi Wilding:

"We looked at 20 products from five major manufacturers to assess what they're doing to conform with New York State's Best Management Practices and California law when it comes to disclosing ingredients and the hazard that those ingredients might pose. And what we found is that no company has adopted all of the expanded disclosure components that New York has in its Best Management Practices."

Wilding says Seventh Generation and RB (maker of products like Lysol and Easy-Off) scored highest for their levels of disclosure.

"RB has produced an excellent website that provides deatiled information in ways that are very accessible and has adopted a number of key components of the New York Best Management Practices."
 

Credit CHNY

According to CHNY, ingredients in cleaning products have long been obscured to consumers. Wilding says chemicals present in some common household cleansers have been found to increase the risk of cancer, asthma, birth defects, and other serious, chronic medical conditions. More notably, the use of cleaning supplies has grown exponentially since the coronavirus outbreak. CHNY found sales of aerosol disinfectants, bath and shower wipes, and multipurpose cleansers have grown by 385%, 180%, and 148%, respectively. She adds it is difficult to tell when companies aren't fully transparent.

CHNY is calling on the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation to adopt the Best Management Practices as regulations.

DEC responded to a request for comment by email, saying in part it “will implement cleaning product disclosure requirements for ingredients and other information through regulation. DEC began the process by holding a public meeting, and seeking stakeholder input, on the topic. We are taking input from the public and stakeholders while DEC develops a formal regulatory proposal which is expected to be announced later this year."

Here is a link to CHNY's report. DEC's full statement is below.

"Protecting New Yorkers and the environment from harmful chemicals is of the utmost importance to the state. New York state is leading the nation by requiring manufacturers to disclose information about all of the chemicals that might be found in household cleaning products, including byproducts and other impurities. This initiative will help enhance the state’s understanding of the public’s exposure to chemical hazards.
 
The Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) will implement cleaning product disclosure requirements for ingredients and other information through regulation. DEC began the process by holding a public meeting, and seeking stakeholder input, on the topic. We are taking input from the public and stakeholders while DEC develops a formal regulatory proposal which is expected to be announced later this year.  DEC’s regulatory proposal will be made available for public comment."