September 2017

California Assembly passes Right to Know Act of 2017

On Sept. 12, the California Assembly passed SB 258, the landmark Cleaning Product Right to Know Act of 2017, authored by Senator Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens). For the first time ever, cleaning products sold in the state of California will be required to list ingredients on product labels and provide additional ingredient information on product websites.  The carefully crafted compromise that was voted on today was developed through intense NGO-industry stakeholder negotiations and has generated an unprecedented coalition of support made up of over 100 organizations and corporations ranging from breast cancer prevention and clean water advocates to janitors and domestic workers to some of the world’s largest multinational cleaning product companies.
 
After nearly six months of meetings, a multi-stakeholder working group convened by Senator Lara agreed on a compromise bill that successfully balances consumer and worker demands for more ingredient information with complex implementation issues, including the need to protect certain proprietary and confidential business information.
“The bill negotiation made allies out of adversaries, as we worked shoulder-to-shoulder to negotiate a bill that will benefit consumers and workers AND is do-able for the cleaning product industry,” said Janet Nudelman, Director of Program and Policy at the Breast Cancer Prevention Partners. “After a nearly decade long NGO-industry stand-off, stakeholders with what seemed like irreconcilable differences came to the table with open minds and were finally able to craft a workable solution.  We all agree this bill will dramatically increase the transparency of cleaning product ingredients while taking into account the time, resources and trade secret protections the cleaning product industry is seeking while meeting the bill’s aggressive disclosure provisions. We commend Senator Lara for the outstanding leadership he demonstrated to finally bring this bill to the finish line.”
 
“CSPA and its member companies have actively worked with other key stakeholders to achieve the mutual goal of providing meaningful and understandable information to consumers and workers while also protecting significant financial investments in product innovation,” said Steve Caldeira, President and CEO of the Consumer Specialty Products Association. “This bill represents many hours of productive dialogue resulting in an ingredient communication proposal that can potentially serve as a national model for other states and major retailers.”
“This bill is the successful product of dialogue between public health advocates and the cleaning product industry,” said Avinash Kar, a senior attorney at the Natural Resources Defense Council. “It strikes a careful balance between the right of consumers to know what’s in the products they bring into their homes and companies’ interests in protecting certain information as confidential. This bill will lead to vastly improved ingredient information for people nationwide.”
“This groundbreaking legislation would not be possible without hard work, thoughtful conversations and compromise,” said Erin Switalski, executive director of Women’s Voices for the Earth. “Businesses, health advocates, workers groups, and decision makers have come together in agreement that women and men have the right to know what is in cleaning products so they can make informed decisions to protect their health. Passing SB 258 means our right to know — what’s right for public health – becomes a reality.”
 
According to Bill Allayaud, California Director of Government Affairs for the Environmental Working Group: “Having sat through many long but unsuccessful past stakeholder processes, it was very rewarding to have our two sides come together on the intricate details to craft a new law that will help protect the health of consumer and workers yet be workable for business.  We broke new ground while honoring pragmatic concerns.”
“California will be the first in the nation to clear the air for consumers and workers about what is in their cleaning products. Consumers are demanding transparency and the Cleaning Product Right to Know Act will set a strong national standard. Consumer advocates and manufacturers worked together to disclose potentially harmful ingredients while allowing businesses to protect proprietary information and retain some flexibility,” said Senator Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens).
The bill cosponsors – Breast Cancer Prevention Partners, Environmental Working Group, Women’s Voices of the Earth, and Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) – and the Consumer Specialty Products Association (CSPA) all strongly support SB 258 and will be urging Governor Jerry Brown to sign this historic measure into law.
Background Information
Consumer products subject to SB 258 are regulated through the Federal Hazardous Substances Act (FHSA) administered by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. Through the FHSA regulations, the point of purchase label informs consumers about the potential hazards, product ingredients contributing to those hazards, appropriate handling and storage, applicable first aid information, and how to minimize risks to children.  Additionally, some cleaning products, such as disinfectants, are regulated by and registered under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the California Department of Pesticide Regulation.
Institutional products subject to SB 258 are regulated by the U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Hazard Communication System OSHA’s Hazard Communication Standard requires a common approach to classifying chemicals and communicating hazard information on labels and safety data sheets available to employees and employers using products in settings like hospitals.  Information for employees on how to use and store products and important first aid measures is included.
However, federal or state laws do not currently require the disclosure of most ingredients in cleaning products.

 

CSPA Statement on California SB 258 Passing the California Assembly
 
 
The Consumer Specialty Products Association (CSPA) is pleased that the California Assembly has passed SB 258, the Cleaning Product Right to Know Act of 2017.
 
“CSPA and its member companies proactively worked in good faith with other key stakeholders on a bill that provides meaningful and understandable information to consumers and workers while also protecting significant financial investments that companies have made in product innovation,” said Steve Caldeira, President and CEO of CSPA. “CSPA thanks all the Assembly members who voted for the bill.”
 
Household and commercial product safety are the top priority for CSPA and our member companies. Through the working group process established by the leadership of Senator Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens), the bill’s author, CSPA and member companies engaged in thorough negotiations with the senator’s office and sponsors to get a working bill that stakeholders could agree with.  
 
The bill now goes back to the California Senate for a concurrence vote and, if passed by the Senate, will be sent to Governor Brown for consideration.