State governments, which are at the frontline of fighting COVID-19, are also at the forefront of requiring businesses to disclose chemical ingredients in their products to consumers and public agencies. From California to New York consumers are demanding, and states are requiring, that companies disclose chemicals in cleaning, children’s, cosmetics, menstrual, and other products. But what are these disclosure requirements? And what can we learn from them?
NEWMOA’s IC2 and Clean Production Action (CPA) partnered to review more than ten public policies that require the disclosure of chemicals in products and one industry standard that sets guidelines for disclosure in building products. The new joint report, Chemical Ingredient Transparency in Products, highlights three forms of disclosure:
- ALL chemical ingredients in a product category, such as cleaning products (with limited exceptions for confidential business information).
- Chemicals, or classes of chemicals, of concern in products, such as requirements to disclose mercury and mercury compounds in nearly all products.
- Chemicals of concern in a category of products, such as children’s products.
An appendix summarizing existing public policies and one voluntary industry standard is also available as an Excel file.
Significantly, state governments are requiring companies to disclose all chemicals intentionally added to products as well as impurities in the products, so-called “non-functional constituents, that are chemicals of concern to human health and the environment because they can cause cancer, birth defects, and other adverse health effects. “These new disclosure policies,” highlighted Mark S. Rossi, Executive Director of CPA, “will enable consumers to compare products based on their chemical ingredients and incentivize manufacturers to replace toxic chemicals with safer alternatives.”
Terri Goldberg, Executive Director of NEWMOA, stated, “We are excited to be working with a wide range of key stakeholders to advance chemical ingredient disclosure programs, and this report provides the needed background information to inform this important work.”