House Bill Would Require Ingredient Disclosure for Cleaning Products
The Cleaning Product Right to Know Act of 2011 (HR 3457) was introduced in late November and if passed, would require that all cleaning products feature a "complete and accurate list of all ingredients, including the individual ingredients in Dyes, fragrances and preservatives" both on the product and on the manufacturer website.
According to ISSA's Bill Balek, the bill provides an exemption for ingredients that are considered trade secrets, but would place the burden on manufacturers to demonstrate to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) that the ingredient is in fact a trade secret. Further, the CPSC must review and approve the claimed trade secret exemption before the manufacturer is entitled to the exception. Moreover, HR 3457 provides that manufacturers may not claim as a trade secret those ingredients that are considered to be "hazardous" pursuant to the Federal Hazardous Substances Act.
In regard to ingredient disclosure via the Web, specifically, manufacturers would also be required to:
• Review the ingredient disclosure every 120 days and revise as necessary to reflect changes to cleaning product formulations;
• Include the appropriate CAS number for each ingredient;
• Identify any potential adverse health effect of each ingredient in the cleaning product; and
• Provide disclosure in a manner that would be sortable by product, ingredient, or adverse health effect.
The ingredient disclosure that would be required to be made on the Web would have to be in English and Spanish at a minimum.
Balek comments in reports that HR 3457 is the latest ingredient disclosure initiative that is part of a growing trend many refer to as the demand for "radical transparency". On an increasing basis, the marketplace is demanding greater environmental, health and safety information about the products and services they consume in support of their institutional facility so that they can make informed purchasing decisions that are consistent with their organizational sustainability goals.
That said, ISSA reports an opposition to HR 3457. According to reporting, while ISSA understands the marketplace dynamics that are driving the demand for radical transparency, the association opposes HR 3457 because it is technically flawed in several regards. Consider the following:
• HR 3457 is internally inconsistent. For example, the bill's language purports to cover only household consumer cleaning products yet defines "cleaning products" to include those used in institutional facilities.
• The bill places authority to enforce the ingredient disclosure requirements on the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission(CPSC). However, the CPSC has no jurisdiction or authority over cleaning products used in institutional or commercial facilities.
• The bill places a huge burden on the CPSC to review potentially millions of petitions for trade secrecy, yet provides no financial or human resources to the Commission in support of this function.
• Moreover, the trade secret provisions of HR 3457 are woefully inadequate in terms of the protection they would provide to confidential business information, and impose a tremendous burden on manufacturers who would have to petition the CPSC for any and all ingredients they wish to claim as a trade secret.
• By requiring the ingredient disclosure to be on the label and the Web, HR 3457 places an unreasonable burden on manufacturers who will have to devote substantial resources to complying with both requirements.
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