Nov 17, 2011
Rep. Israel Introduces Cleaning Product Right-to-Know Act, Legislation to Require Ingredient Labeling for Cleaning Products
New Study Reveals Toxins, Carcinogens and Allergens Hidden in Products Used Around Our Homes
Washington, DC – On Thursday, Rep. Steve Israel (D – NY) announced the introduction of the Cleaning Product Right-to-Know Act, legislation that will require ingredient labeling for domestic, commercial and institutional cleaning products. “
Our cabinets are full of soaps and cleaners that we assume improve our homes and health. However, new research shines a light on the secret chemicals that might be doing more harm than good. You have a right to know what’s hiding in your household products. That’s why I’m introducing legislation to require full disclosure of the ingredients in everyday cleaning products,” said Rep. Israel.
“Congressman Israel has led the way with an extremely important piece of legislation, the Cleaning Product Right-to-Know Act. As we work to reduce our risk of diseases like breast cancer, it’s critical to know which products are safe to choose for our families,” said Karen Joy Miller, founder and president of the Huntington Breast Cancer Action Coalition.
A new study of everyday cleaning products published today by Women’s Voices for the Earth found the following:
- Some products contained reproductive toxins such as toluene and phthalates, carcinogens such as 1,4-dioxane and chloroform, and a hormone disrupting synthetic musk.
- Several known allergens were also detected in thes e products, the highest levels of which appeared in fragranced air fresheners.
- Allergens were found in products marketed as fragrance-free.
- None of these chemicals were listed on the product’s label.
Source: Dirty Secrets: What’s Hiding in Your CleaningProducts, Alexandra Scranton, Women’s Voices for the Earth, November 2011
In 2009, an Environmental Working Group study of cleaning products used in schools found 450 distinct toxic contaminants in those products, some linked to an increased risk of asthma and cancer.
Rep. Israel’s legislation would require full ingredient labeling on a product or its packaging. Manufacturers would also be required to provide an online list of each product’s ingredients. Products covered by the legislation include, but are not limited to: air care products, automotive products, polishes or floor maintenance products, and disinfectants. Ingredients must be listed in descending order of predominance by weight. Cleaning products whose label does not contain a complete and accurate list of all the product’s ingredients will be treated as a misbranded hazardous substance under the Federal Hazardous Substances Act.
For more information, contact:
Congressman Steve Israel (D-NY) and Karen Joy Miller discuss the
lack of information on commonly used household products.
According to Congressman Israel’s bill, a household cleaning product that is manufactured for sale, offered for sale, distributed in commerce, or imported to the United States without the proper label will be treated as a as misbranded hazardous substance under the Federal Hazardous Substances Act, effective one year after the day of enactment. This legislation will be enforced by the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
The bill defines a household cleaning product or similar product as “Any substance which is customarily produced and distributed for use in or about the household as a cleaning agent, pesticide, epoxy, paint or stain, or similar substance.”
You have the right to know the ingredients that are present in the household cleaning products you use and the substances in these products that you and your family are exposed to on a regular basis.
Rep. Israel Announces New Legislation to Label Household Products Including Cleaners, Paint and Pesticides
Current federal law does not require companies to list ingredients in household products used every day on floors, counters, sinks, in yards and all around the home
Plainview, NY – On Monday, Rep Steve Israel (D-Long Island), the Citizens Campaign for the Environment, and the Huntington Breast Cancer Action Coalition announced new legislation to protect consumers. The Household Product Labeling Act of 2009 (H.R. 3057) was introduced by Rep. Israel.
“We require ingredient labeling for the food we put in our mouths, but not for soap in which we wash our plates. The lack of labeling required for household products is ludicrous, it’s dangerous, and it’s due for a change,” said Rep. Steve Israel. “We have buckets and bottles full of this stuff, but no clue what’s in it. We have a right to know. The legislation I just introduced will require companies to list all ingredients for these products right on the package. This is a bill about protecting consumers, protecting our children, and keeping our homes safe.”
“Harmful chemicals are hidden within everyday household cleaning products that can cause health effects such as asthma, skin irritations, respiratory ailments and damage to the reproductive system and the nervous system. For years, companies have gotten away with putting dangerous chemicals in products by taking advantage of the lack of consumer awareness,” said Adrienne Esposito, Executive Director of Citizens Campaign for the Environment. "Families across America deserve to know if harmful chemicals are contained in products sold in grocery stores so that they can make informed, healthy choices for themselves and their families."
“Consumers are entitled to, and should expect, full and accurate labeling on any and all products they purchase. This is the first step toward minimizing the use of toxic chemicals we're exposed to every day.” said Karen Joy Miller, Director of the Huntington Breast Cancer Action Coalition.
Current federal law does not require companies to list ingredients for household products including cleaning agents, pesticides, epoxy, paint and stains. Rep. Israel’s legislation will require that companies provide a complete and accurate list of all ingredients on the product container or product packaging.
Many cleaning products contain chemicals that have been proven to be dangerous to human health. A list of examples from “Household Hazards,” a report by Women’s Voices for the Earth (2007) includes:
Monoethanolamine (MEA) is a surfactant found in some laundry detergents, all-purpose cleaners and floor cleaners and is a known inducer of occupational asthma.
Ammonium quaternary compounds are disinfectants found in some disinfectant sprays and toilet cleaners that have been identified as inducers of occupational asthma.
Glycol ethers, such as 2-butoxyethanol, are solvents commonly found in glass cleaners and all-purpose spray cleaners that have been linked to reduced fertility and low birth weight in exposed mice.
Alkylphenol ethoxylates (APEs) are surfactants found in laundry detergents, stain removers, and all-purpose cleaners, which have been found to reduce embryo survival in fish, and alter tadpole development. APEs are commonly detected as contaminants in rivers and streams – including in the Long Island Sound, and have also been found in household dust.
Phthalates are carriers for fragrance in glass cleaners, deodorizers, laundry detergents and fabric softeners, which have been l inked to adverse effects on male children, reduced sperm count in adult men, and increased allergic symptoms and asthma in children.
According to a recent study by the Center for the New American Dream, the institutional cleaning industry uses an estimated five billion pounds of chemicals annually in the United States. Children are at an increased risk for being affected by these products, as are women who make up a disproportionate amount of housekeepers and cleaning service staff.
Below are direct links to the bill pages on the NY assembly website.
Enacts the "New York state public health protection act"; establishes a precautionary policy for the state; establishes criteria to guide implementation of the precautionary policy; creates a precautionary policy planning council.
Enacts the "New York state healthy and green procurement act".
Enacts the "New York state healthy and green procurement act".