Ilya Marritz covers business for WNYC.
New York Set to Be First State to Require Cleaning Products to List Ingredients
Friday, September 10, 2010
There could soon be ingredient labels on floor polish and toilet bowl cleaner sold in New York. The state is set to become the first in the nation to require disclosure of the chemicals in common household cleaning products.
Unlike food labels, which tell you every ingredient on a box of crackers or a can of soda, there is no similar list on cleaning products.
That could soon change, now that the Department of Environmental Conservation in Albany has decided to enforce a 33-year old law empowering it to require disclosure of chemical ingredients.
Environmental and consumer groups are already declaring victory. They've long claimed a link between some chemicals and illnesses like asthma and breast cancer.
Brian Sansoni with The American Cleaning Institute strongly disputes the notion that there are health risks. He says there's no need for New York to require complete disclosure, as companies already welcome questions from consumers.
"They can pick up the phone and call the company today. They can go to the company Web site, nothing is stopping a consumer today from asking a question," Sansoni says.
There is no federal requirement for disclosure of ingredients in cleaning products.
Albany regulators say they will require disclosure from all companies that sell cleaning products in the state. The DEC will meet next month with industry and environmental groups to discuss its plans for enforcement.