A California bill that would require manufacturers to fully disclose chemical ingredients in cleaning products is causing some controversy. Industry manufacturers are concerned about protecting trade secrets, while consumers are looking for information that would help them make informed purchasing decisions.

The bill (AB 708) would require manufacturers of cleaning products – including air care products, floor polishes and automotive cleaning products – to indicate on product labels the 20 most predominant ingredients. These would also need to disclose the presence of any substances listed as candidate chemicals, under the Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) Safer Consumer Products program.

For products that contain more than 20 ingredients, the label must indicate that a full ingredient list is available on the company website.

Douglas Troutman, general counsel and vice president of government affairs at the American Cleaning Institute (ACI), told Chemical Watch that much of the cleaning products industry is already voluntarily disclosing chemical ingredients due to consumer demands. He further emphasizes that the need for oversight or legislation is not necessary.

Representatives from other industry associations agree, saying manufacturers should have flexibility in how they choose to communicate information to their customers, and a bill like this is “unprecedented.”

The California assembly has until 31 January to pass the measure in order for it to be taken up in the Senate. The bill is expected to come to the floor for a vote in the final days of the month.

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