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Rep. Israel Proposes Bill To Require Disclosure of Cleaners Ingredients

Friday, April 11, 2014

Washington, D.C. – Rep. Steve Israel, D-N.Y., today introduced the Household Cleaning Products Right to Know Act of 2014 bill, which would require cleaning products makers to disclose hidden ingredients in most cleaning products.

Israel’s bill would require cleaners makers to disclose all ingredients on the label and online.  It would eliminate a labeling loophole that has permitted companies to hide names of chemicals in dyes, fragrances and preservatives.  

“Consumers have the right to know what’s in their cleaning products,” said Jason Rano, EWG’s Director of Government Affairs. “We applaud Rep. Israel for his efforts to hold manufacturers accountable and to get consumers the information they need to make smarter decisions about the products they use in their homes and around their families.” 

Israel’s bill would apply to all cleaning products produced, imported to, or sold in the U.S., including products that scent the air and cleaning products for cars. It would exempt only those disinfectants like triclosan that are technically categorized as pesticides.  

EWG has long advocated for full ingredient disclosure on cleaning product labels. Many popular household cleaners contain toxic ingredients that have been linked to asthma, allergic reactions and even cancer. Ingredients such as methoxydiglycol have been linked to reproductive health effects. Others, such as chlorine bleach and quaternary ammonium compounds are classified as asthmagens, meaning they may cause asthma to develop in otherwise healthy people.  Preservatives that release formaldehyde can cause skin allergies.

“Complete ingredient disclosure will help people avoid cleaning chemicals that could affect their health,” said Johanna Congleton, EWG’s senior scientist. “This is particularly true for people who have allergies or respiratory problems and may be more sensitive to ingredients that can cause or worsen these conditions.”

In 2012, EWG researchers assessed more than 2,000 household cleaners and found that just 7 percent of them adequately disclosed their contents. EWG’s interactive Guide to Healthy Cleaning helps consumers find safer products.