Do you wonder whether your air freshener’s formulation is safe? Are you tired of reading product labels with the catch-all terms “fragrance” or “natural fragrance” but no specific ingredients?
S.C. Johnson & Son, the manufacturer of such familiar household brands as Windex, Pledge, Shout, Scrubbing Bubbles and Drano, has pledged 100 percent disclosure of fragrance ingredients in its new Glade Fresh Citrus Blossoms collection. This announcement marks the first time a major company has made a commitment to disclose fully the composition of its fragrances.
The webpage for S.C. Johnson’s Fresh Citrus Blossom-scented Glade PlugIns Scented Oil Refill lists a whopping 60 chemical components under the term fragrance.
The company’s action responds to mounting interest and pressure from consumers and retailers who have been demanding to know what’s in everyday household products.
Last April 2015, S.C. Johnson commissioned a study by GlobeScan, a marketing consultant, that found that almost three quarters of people surveyed favored companies that published detailed lists of ingredients over those that kept consumers in the dark. Two months later, S.C. Johnson began to disclose some – but not all -- fragrance chemicals in its Glade brand air fresheners, scented oils and candles. (The company said it would disclose the top 10 of 20 or more fragrance ingredients or all ingredients present in concentrations of greater than 0.09 percent of the formula, whichever number was greater. But it said that some fragrance suppliers had not given approval to disclose their ingredients.)
Disclosure is important to consumers because many fragrance components are allergens. Some are on California’s Proposition 65 list, which is meant to inform citizens about chemicals known to cause reproductive harm, birth defects and cancer.
EWG President Ken Cook thanked S.C. Johnson and commended the company for taking this step to advance transparency in consumer product ingredients by disclosing 100 percent of the fragrance ingredients in a product collection:
S.C. Johnson has once again demonstrated trend-setting leadership in the home care product industry. I’m particularly grateful to S.C. Johnson Senior Vice President Kelly Semrau for her personal leadership, and for keeping EWG informed of the company’s impressive sustainability initiatives.
S.C. Johnson's new policy will go a long way to build consumer confidence in product safety and promote awareness of fragrance chemicals and the fragrance labeling loophole in personal care products.
Federal regulations do not require manufacturers of cleaning products to disclose their ingredients on product labels. Some companies have provided partial ingredient information but have withheld names of fragrance ingredients, on grounds they are obligated to protect the trade secrets of their fragrance suppliers.
S.C. Johnson will list all of the ingredients in three specific Glade products - Fresh Citrus Blossoms scented Glade Wax Melts, Glade PlugIns Scented Oil Refill, and Glade Premium Room Spray. While the company has gone further than many other cleaning product makers, we hope it will broaden its disclosure policy to its other brand lines and to other chemical cocktails customarily described as “thickeners” and “surfactants.”
We hope other companies that make household cleaning products will catch up. Some companies don't disclose a single ingredient on the label or the product website.
EWG has battled for disclosure of product ingredients for many years. In 2012, we created EWG’s Guide to Healthy Cleaning that rates more than 2,000 cleaning and air-care products. It is an important resource for shoppers who want to know the ingredients in their homecare products. The Guide can help them find products that contain fewer ingredients that are hazardous or that haven’t been thoroughly tested.
Consumers can visit our healthy cleaners database to learn how their cleaning products rate and if there are safer alternatives.