Written on: December 1, 2022 by Nicholas Georges
I’ve been told more than a few times that I spend too much time in the cleaning products aisle at the grocery store. I’ll admit that I also like the soda aisle because its where I find my coveted, zero-calorie, carbonated beverage of choice, but my time in the cleaning products industry has led to an appreciation of observing emerging product trends and analyzing new product claims. While an eye-catching product label can sometimes influence a consumer’s purchasing behavior, it is sometimes the information on the back of the label—the ingredient disclosures—that drive these decisions.
There currently isn’t a Federal law that requires manufacturers and marketers of cleaning products to disclose all intentionally added ingredients on a product’s label. However, industry recognizes the importance of being transparent, which is why HCPA helped negotiate SB 258, The Cleaning Product Right to Know Act of 2017,i in California. This landmark legislation balances consumer and worker demands for more ingredient information with complex implementation issues, such as the need to protect certain proprietary and confidential business information.
Since there isn’t a national standard to disclose ingredient information, SB 258 has been adopted by manufacturers and retailers across the country as the de facto ingredient communication law, ensuring that U.S.consumers have access to important information about the products they use to stay safe and healthy. In addition to cleaning products, SB 258 covers air care and automotive products, as well as floor maintenance products and polishes that are used for household, janitorial or institutional cleaning purposes. Disinfectant products are also included under the law, but only through online disclosure due to the labeling complexities of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide & Rodenticide Act (FIFRA).
Having passed in 2017, most of the effective dates for SB 258 have come and gone, meaning that household and commercial products currently on store shelves are compliant with ingredient disclosure requirements. However, intentionally added ingredients on the Proposition 65 (Prop 65) list were not required to be disclosed on label or online until Jan. 1, 2023.
Luckily, for most manufacturers and marketers, intentionally added Prop 65 ingredients are already disclosed on a specific warning label. If that’s not the case for your product, now is the time to update your ingredient information before the New Year.
A few years after SB 258, California passed SB 312, The Cosmetic Fragrance & Flavor Ingredient Right to Know Act of 2020,ii which requires manufacturers and marketers of cosmetic products sold in the State to report certain fragrance and flavor ingredients.
The U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) already requires cosmetic products to disclose intentionally added ingredients on the label, so SB 312 doesn’t include labeling elements. However, the compounds that need to be reported under the law come from the same designated lists as SB 258, and it is critical to know that the contents of some of those lists can (and will) change over time.
This will likely be the case for fragrance allergens on Annex III of the EU Cosmetics Regulation No. 1223/2009.iii Under SB 258, fragrance allergens at or above a concentration of 100 parts per million (ppm) must be disclosed on the product label or include a statement that reads: “Contains fragrance allergen(s)” with a complete list reported online.
Under SB 312, fragrance allergens must be disclosed to the California State Dept. of Public Health when present in a rinse-off cosmetic product at a concentration of 100 ppm or more and in a leave-on cosmetic product at a concentration of 10 ppm or more. Under both laws, the concentration is for the total amount of all fragrance allergens, not only an individual substance.
The European Commission recently proposediv to amend Annex III to include additional fragrance ingredients, which will have significant impacts for companies selling products in California. Under SB 312, manufacturers and marketers of cosmetic products have six months to update their disclosures. Under SB 258, manufacturers and marketers of household and commercial products have six months to update their online disclosures and 18 months to update their labels. While the final adoption date isn’t known yet, the European Commission indicated its intent to adopt the proposal in the first half of 2023.
Keeping that timeline in mind, companies may want to start working with their fragrance suppliers to determine what changes, if any, need to be made to their disclosures.