Statement by Environmental Defence’s Muhannad Malas on California’s new requirement for ingredient labelling on all cleaning products
Toronto, Ont. – We applaud the State of California for passing a law to require manufacturers to disclose and label all ingredients in cleaning products. It is time that Canada takes similar steps.
Yesterday, the Governor of California signed into law the California Cleaning Product Right to Know Act that requires on-product and online listing of all household and commercial cleaning product ingredients. The new law also ensures that companies disclose all fragrance ingredients at a concentration of 0.01 per cent or greater. The presence of certain allergens and hazardous chemicals must be disclosed regardless of concentration.
Unlike other consumer goods like personal care products, household cleaning products in Canada are not required by law to disclose ingredients. This means that consumers are often unaware that the products they use to clean their homes may contain or emit harmful chemicals that are linked to allergies, asthma, and breast cancer. Scented cleaners may also contain fragrance ingredients like phthalates, which are suspected hormone disruptors. Research shows that products often make false and unsubstantiated claims about environmental and health safety, making the need for mandated labelling even more important.
Canadian consumers have increasingly asked for more transparency when it comes to cleaning product labelling. Full disclosure of ingredients and warning labels of harmful substances can go a long way in protecting children and pregnant women from the risks of toxic chemicals in cleaning products. Evidence also shows that strong labelling can promote the use of safer chemical alternatives.
A recent report by the federal House of Commons Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development recommended amending the Canadian Environmental Protection Act (CEPA), Canada’s main toxics law, to require mandatory labelling of all consumer products containing toxic chemicals.
The federal government must act on the committee’s recommendations to strengthen CEPA and protect Canadians’ right to know by mandating full disclosure of all ingredients on cleaning and other consumer products.
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