Harmful Chemicals in Household Cleaning Products Finally Revealed: Report

There is still no federal law in the U.S. requiring manufacturers to list the ingredients in the cleaning products they produce, but by accessing new ingredient information through the “Cleaning Product Right to Know Act”, a new report, “Beyond the Label: Health Impacts of Harmful Ingredients in Cleaning Products, calls attention to some of the most problematic chemicals used in household cleaning products, that have, until recently, been hidden from the general public.

“Many of the toxic chemicals we found are being disclosed for the first time in these products. We reviewed hundreds of products sold throughout the nation and found reproductive toxins, hormone disruptors and allergens used throughout brands, in varying products from detergents to carpet cleaners, and even in cleaners that market themselves as ‘green’.

Furthermore, none of the toxic chemicals we identified in the report are essential to the efficacy of the cleaning product. This exposure is unnecessary and is adding to the widespread public health burdens that impact our quality of life.”

-‘Alexandra Scranton, lead author and Director of Science and Research, Women’s Voices for the Earth (WVE)

The Cleaning Product Right to Know Act:  Why this information is finally publicly available

In 2017, California passed the Cleaning Product Right to Know Act (SB 258), requiring manufacturers to disclose their ingredients (including phthalate chemicals/fragrance ingredients) online and on label. This law went into effect on January 1, 2020. While passed in California, this bill impacts the availability of ingredient information nationwide.

“For decades cleaning products companies have been legally allowed to hide their ingredients, even those widely recognized to cause harm to our health and our environment. This largely changed in 2020 as the result of the Cleaning Product Right to Know Act.

“Now, more than ever, we have a greater understanding of what we’re exposed to in keeping private and public spaces clean. And what we’re finding is unacceptable, especially when considering the numerous compounding health burdens that many people who use cleaning products already face.”

Amber Garcia, Executive Director, Women’s Voices for the Earth

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