Any hazardous chemicals found in household cleaning products will have to be clearly disclosed on labels and online under a California law that will be phased in over the next three years.
The law, signed Sunday by Gov. Jerry Brown, is poised to put the state at the front of a national discussion about the rights of consumers to know what dangerous chemicals or allergens may be in common cleaners. The ingredients must be posted online by manufacturers in 2020, and on product labels by 2021.
"People around the country and especially Californians are demanding more disclosure about the chemicals in products we use," said state Sen. Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens), the bill's author, in a written statement. "The science is clear, and we have seen the data about how cleaning product chemicals affect parents, children, people with pre-existing conditions, and workers who use these products all day, every day."
The bill, amended a half-dozen times over the course of legislative negotiations this year, would give consumers additional information when it comes to selecting which cleaners they use. Supporters said it could also allow consumers with specific allergies or asthma to determine if a specific cleaner's ingredients might make that condition worse.
California's size and prominence could spark changes from major manufacturers in how they market their products across the nation. Lara said he was motivated to champion the bill based on the experiences of his mother, who worked as a house cleaner.
"After a day of scrubbing toilets my mother would be dizzy and sick, but she never knew if it was the product she was using," he said.