The Sacramento Bee reports that Americans spend about $25 billion each year just on cleaning products. But, there is little that we know about what is actually in these products. If Governor Jerry Brown signs Senate Bill 258 authored by Senator Ricardo Lara, California will become the first state to have a cleaning product “right to know” law requiring disclosure of ingredients on the labels and online so consumers and workers know what is in everyday cleaning products and can make the right choice for themselves and their families.
A Necessary Law
There is currently no law that actually requires manufacturers of these cleaning products to list ingredients in cleaning products, unlike packaged food and cosmetics. While you will find instructions for use and warnings about handling the products, you won’t see a long list of ingredients. SB 258 would give consumers this valuable information about ingredients that are known chemicals of concern while ensuring that businesses can protect valid proprietary information for other chemicals.
It is a fact that chemicals found in some cleaning products are harmful. According to the California Department of Public Health, about 10 percent of all work-related asthma cases are linked to cleaning products. Common cleaning products have also been known to cause allergic skin reactions. Workers who use these products all day such as cleaning crews or janitors, or those who have preexisting conditions such as cancer, allergies or asthma, have a right to know what is in their cleaning products.
When you don’t have mandatory labeling, people don’t have a way of knowing whether the cleaning products they are using are triggering allergies or causing their health problems. Transparency may also motivate manufacturers to innovate so they can avoid harmful ingredients in their products.
Manufacturers also have a responsibility to ensure that their products are safe and free of harmful toxins. They must ensure that their products are safe for consumers to use. However, cleaning products have had a dubious reputation because we don’t know what ingredients go into making them. As California product defect lawyers, we support this law. We believe it will finally allow all of us to see what we are bringing into our homes and spraying on our counters.
If you or a loved one has suffered adverse health effects due to dangerous or defective products, call an experienced attorney who will provide you with more information about pursuing your legal rights. You may be able to seek compensation for damages such as medical expenses, lost wages and pain and suffering.