Written on: August 1, 2019 by Nicholas Georges
Consumers are demanding increased transparency from all facets of life, and household and commercial products are no exception.
Since 2010, the Household & Commercial Products Association (HCPA), our member companies and allied trade associations have supported a voluntary ingredient communication initiative to ensure that consumers can make smart choices about the products they use. Our members are leaders in product transparency, which is why HCPA was the only trade association to support the landmark passage of the California Cleaning Product Right to Know Act, signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown in 2017.
If you are not already aware, the first compliance deadline for the California Cleaning Product Right to Know Act is Jan. 1, 2020. All intentionally-added ingredients must be disclosed online by that date. The new set of requirements for on-package labeling will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2021.
In addition to the new California law, the New York State Dept. of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) has put forth ingredient communication guidance that differs in many ways from California. HCPA and the American Cleaning Institute (ACI) have challenged the New York standards in court. The compliance deadline for that program has been pushed back from July 1, 2019 to Jan. 1, 2020, with the outcome of the case still to be determined through the legal process.
Unfortunately, between California and New York, there is the very real possibility there could be an extremely costly and burdensome patchwork of regulatory requirements. It is critical that you know the requirements for each because complying with one will not guarantee compliance with the other.
• The California Cleaning Product Right to Know Act—For products sold into California, online disclosure is required by Jan. 1, 2020, except for Proposition 65 chemicals, which do not need to be listed until Jan. 1, 2023. California also requires ingredient communication on product labels, though the compliance date for labels is Jan. 1, 2021 (again, with Proposition 65 chemicals being listed by Jan. 1, 2023). Air care products, automotive products, general cleaning products or polish or floor maintenance products used primarily for janitorial, domestic or institutional cleaning purposes are included. It is critical to carefully review each product category definition within the law. For example, the definition of general cleaning products includes products which disinfect, so certain U.S. Federal Insecticide, Fungicide & Rodenticide Act (FIFRA)-registered products are required to comply, although for online disclosure only.
• NYSDEC Household Cleansing Product Information Disclosure Program—For New York, the current compliance date for online disclosure for most companies is Jan. 1, 2020 (unless the manufacturer is independently-owned-and -operated, employing 100 or fewer people) with fragrance ingredients and nonfunctional byproducts or contaminants being listed by July 1, 2020. Cleansing products covered by the program include, but are not limited to, “soaps and detergents containing a surfactant as a wetting or dirt emulsifying agent and used primarily for domestic or commercial cleaning purposes, including but not limited to the cleansing of fabrics, dishes, food utensils and household and commercial premises.” Appendix A of the disclosure program form lists global product classification (GPC) system brick codes that are covered by the program, so it is important to review them in case our product(s) is/are covered.
Confused yet? There are also differences in how you treat fragrances and the lists of chemicals of interest. There are also varying thresholds for when to disclose nonfunctional constituents (manufacturing byproducts).
To help companies cut through the clutter, HCPA created the Consumer Product Ingredients Dictionary. The Dictionary is a unified source for ingredient names that are required by the state of California and accepted by Walmart, Target and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Safer Choice program. These groups and many others consider the HCPA Dictionary the preferred way to standardize the names of ingredients both on the label and online. Fortunately, the nomenclature requirements (how to name the chemicals) is the same for both California and New York, and the HCPA Dictionary is listed in the text of the California law at the top of the naming convention hierarchy.
If you’re not yet familiar with the deadlines for California and New York, I urge you not to delay any further. I cannot stress the effort that is needed to fully comply. If you are looking for resources to make your compliance more efficient, I respectfully suggest you visit ProductIngredients.com and contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions. With States and retailers increasingly creating a hodgepodge of requirements for ingredient communication, a turnkey tool for understanding can have a significant effect on your bottom line. SPRAY