Washington, D.C. – The Clorox Company’s decision to disclose fragrance allergens in its household cleaning products is “an important step in increasing transparency and improving awareness around the potentially harmful ingredients that go into cleaning products,” Environmental Working Group said in a statement today.
“This is a smart move for a leader in an industry that has traditionally been guarded about disclosing potentially harmful ingredients used in its products,” said Johanna Congleton, EWG senior scientist. “Neither Congress nor the federal Food and Drug Administration have required companies to share information about allergens and other chemicals used to impart fragrance to cleaning products. The public is forced to rely on responsible disclosures by companies such as Clorox in order to make informed purchasing decisions.”
The term “fragrance” on ingredient labels typically signals a chemical cocktail that contains dozens of undisclosed ingredients. Many have undergone little to no safety testing. Some are known to cause allergic reactions.
According to a 2013 report released by Women’s Voices for the Earth, fragrance allergies affect tens of millions of people around the world, about 2-to-11 percent of the general population.
“Manufacturers can use almost any ingredient they wish and without full disclosure, it’s nearly impossible for consumers to know what they’re exposing themselves and their families to,” added Congleton. “EWG will continue to provide as much useful information as they can to help people reduce their exposure to these allergens.”
Last year, EWG created a Guide to Healthy Cleaning to help consumers find safer household cleaning products. The online tool rates more than 2,000 household cleaners with grades A through F on the safety of ingredients and disclosure of contents.