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Now You Can Know What's in Your Cleaning Products!

Spray bottles for cleaning product

Ingredient Secrets are so 2019

Director of Programs and Policy, Jamie McConnell
Jamie McConnell
Director of
Programs
 & Policy

Happy New Year! Lots of good things are happening in 2020! As of Jan 1st, you now have more information than ever about what ingredients you are being exposed to in cleaning products. In 2017 California passed a groundbreaking law that is the first ever in the nation to require cleaning product manufacturers to disclose ingredients.

January 1st 2020 was the deadline companies had for disclosing ingredients (including many fragrance ingredients and some of the most common contaminants!) online. So even if you don’t live in California you should be able to go to your favorite brand’s website and view a full list of ingredients.[1] For many products, this is the first time this ingredient information has ever been publicly available. Importantly, the law does not allow companies to claim confidential business information (or CBI) for ingredients that are on lists designating the ingredient as a health or environmental concern.

RB, the makers of Lysol, is one great example of a global company that is doing it well, and in some cases going above and beyond what is required by law. Here’s a link to the ingredients listed for a Lysol product. Next to some of the ingredients you’ll notice the letters “DL” – this means the ingredient is on a “designated list”. A “designated list” is an established list of chemicals of concern to health or the environment. If you click on the DL icon it will tell you exactly what lists the ingredient is on. For example, the DL icon may tell you that an ingredient is on a list of carcinogens, a list of asthmagens, or a list of toxic air contaminants.

More to come in 2021

Under the California law companies will also have to disclose all intentionally added ingredients directly on the product label starting in 2021. This will give you essential ingredient information right at the point of purchase, although it won’t require all ingredients on the label that are required to be disclosed online. In 2021 manufacturers will also have disclose on the label whether allergens are present in the product. For a full list of requirements click here.

For over a decade Women’s Voices for the Earth has fought for your right to know what chemicals you are being exposed to in products. This information will give you the ability to avoid chemicals you are concerned about AND it will give advocacy groups like Women’s Voices more information to analyze the impact these products may be having on our health and to call out bad actors.

So here’s to a new year and new information you can use to protect your health!!

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[1] Note – not all companies appear to be fully in compliance just yet. If you can’t find the ingredients for a cleaning product on a company’s website – contact the company by phone or email to get the information you need – and tell them that the info should be on their website too! (If you find any brands that seem to be entirely out of compliance – please let us know!!)

2 Responses

  1. Do you have any information regarding companies like Melaleuca? Or other direct selling companies that sell cleaning products? Have they stepped up to become more transparent?

  2. Elizabeth

    Hi Lori. Really good question. Any business selling in California has to comply with SB 258 – so yes, companies like Melaleuca will need to comply.

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