Online Exclusives

Discourse on Disclosure

By Tom Branna, Editorial Director | January 6, 2017

Transparency impacts the cleaning industry.

Consumers and environmental groups want to know every ingredient in their food, their cosmetics and even their cleaning products. But do they understand the chemistry behind their favorite brands?

At the 10th annual Cleaning Products US conference, Patrick Elias, a toxicologist and member of Clorox’s global stewardship program, noted that few laws require ingredient disclosure for cleaning product formulas. Instead, the movement has been driven by non-government organizations including the Sierra Club and Women’s Voices of the Earth.

These groups, and others like them, have teamed up to enact change at the state level. For example, in 1976, New York passed a law requiring companies selling cleaning supplies in the state to file reports disclosing their products’chemical ingredients and any company research on health or environmental concerns. After passage, the law was never acted upon and largely forgotten until 2008, when Earthjustice filed a lawsuit on behalf of WVE, American Lung Association, Citizens’ Environmental Coalition, Environmental Advocates of New York, New York PIRG, River Keeper and Sierra Club.

Two years later, the suit was dismissed for lack of standing without ruling on its merits. In 2011, a Cleaning Product Right to Know bill (HR3457) was defeated.

More recently, in 2016, California Assembly Bill 708 required cleaning product manufacturers for retail sale in the state to disclose each ingredient contained in the product on the manufacturer’s website and provide the website and page address on the product label, along with a prescribed statement. The bill was defeated, but Elias warned other attempts might arise.

“Industry has been pivotal in making sure that consumers get the right information,” he said.

Elias noted that Clorox’s own ingredient disclosure program got underway in 2008 with the rollout of Greenworks disclosure. That was followed in 2011 with disclosure of preservatives and dyes and, most recently, in 2015, fragrance allergen disclosure. To help keep consumers on the go in the know, Clorox created an IngredientsInside app.

“As a toxicologist, I know the presence of an ingredient doesn’t mean that it is a bad thing,” he observed.

Clorox is committed to its disclosure program for several reasons, including explaining the role of each ingredient to consumers. But Elias warned that disclosure is not related to product safety.

Some of the most common consumer questions that Clorox gets include:
• Does it contain ingredients that I am allergic to?
• What’s the active? and
• Does it contain bleach?

These and other questions underscore the need to educate consumers, according to Elias, who noted that Walmart and other retailers report the same sort of queries from consumers.
“Natural does not mean safe,” he noted. “Not all chemicals are toxic.”

Shoppers have more information at their fingertips than ever before, but that doesn’t mean science-illiterate consumers will understand Paracelsus’ sage advice from centuries ago: “sola dosis facit venenum” or  “the dose makes the poison.”
  • Supply-Side Innovations

    Supply-Side Innovations

    Tom Branna, Editorial Director||March 1, 2017
    Raw material suppliers roll up their sleeves and roll out their new products for the global cleaning industry.

  • New Faces in Familiar Places

    New Faces in Familiar Places

    Tom Branna, Editorial Director||March 1, 2017
    The American Cleaning Institute officially welcomed its new president.

  • Special Delivery

    Special Delivery

    Tom Branna, Editorial Director||March 1, 2017
    UV protection is important, but what good is that sunscreen if consumers won’t apply it?

  • Take The Hint

    Take The Hint

    Christine Esposito, Associate Editor||March 13, 2017
    Water brand forays into sun protection by capitalizing on scent and experience.

  • What’s Up with Brexit?

    What’s Up with Brexit?

    March 9, 2017
    During In-Cosmetics, industry experts from the CTPA will weigh in on what’s ahead for the beauty industry.

  • Shine On

    Shine On

    Christine Esposito, Associate Editor||March 6, 2017
    Jelmar’s Tarn-X tarnish remover celebrates 50th anniversary.

  • How We Clean

    How We Clean

    Tom Branna, Editorial Director||March 6, 2017
    Consumers describe what makes them tick and what ticks them off about household cleaning products.

  • Fit for Fitness

    Fit for Fitness

    Christine Esposito, Associate Editor||February 21, 2017
    Kinx Active is a new brand targeting women who want beauty products that can stand up to their fitness routines.

  • Cargo Says Aloha To Spring/Summer

    Cargo Says Aloha To Spring/Summer

    Christine Esposito, Associate Editor||February 13, 2017
    Cargo Cosmetics has rolled out its new Spring/Summer collection with Hawiianan singer Anuhea.

  • Monday Morning Quarterback

    Monday Morning Quarterback

    Christine Esposito, Associate Editor||February 6, 2017
    Super Bowl commercials are big business. Let’s look at some of personal and household care brands that bought spots this year

  • Catch These Rising Stars of Beauty

    Catch These Rising Stars of Beauty

    Nancy Jeffries, Contributing Editor||February 6, 2017
    Who won what at Fashion Group International's Rising Star awards show

  • Switch It Up

    Switch It Up

    Christine Esposito, Associate Editor||January 30, 2017
    Chicago startup seeks to shake up the AP/deo category with a new launch that meshes sustainability, style and scent.

  • Erasa

    Erasa's New Evangelist(a)

    January 9, 2017
    Impressed by the performance of its hero SKU, supermodel Linda Evangelista joins the company in a hand's on role.

  • The Top Stories of 2016

    The Top Stories of 2016

    December 26, 2016
    The companies and topics that grabbed headlines and your attention this year.

  • Positive Influence

    Positive Influence

    December 19, 2016
    Co-founder Elizabeth Scherle talks about her growing consumer review platform, top beauty products and more.

  • Olivia Care Pays It Forward

    Olivia Care Pays It Forward

    Christine Esposito, Associate Editor||December 12, 2016
    Seeking post-election unity, a small natural personal care company hopes to cause a big wave of giving.

  • Patent Activity: Colgate-Palmolive

    Patent Activity: Colgate-Palmolive

    December 6, 2016
    New oral care compositions, the use of radish root ferment filtrate in a cleanser and more.

  • Cos Bar: Turning 40 and Hitting Fast Forward

    Cos Bar: Turning 40 and Hitting Fast Forward

    Christine Esposito, Associate Editor||November 21, 2016
    With a recent investor infusion, a new CEO and rebranding effort underway, this luxury beauty retailer has big plans.

  • Organic Matter

    Organic Matter

    Christine Esposito, Associate Editor||November 14, 2016
    FTC and USDA hold a public roundtable to discuss consumers’ perception of organic claims.

  • Help for Up Above

    Help for Up Above

    Christine Esposito, Associate Editor||November 14, 2016
    A brand from Down Under is touting a new formulation for what’s missing on top.

  • Get Ready, ‘Cause Here it Comes…

    Get Ready, ‘Cause Here it Comes…

    Christine Esposito, Associate Editor||November 1, 2016
    Skinphonic is a new brand created with a team of beauty experts and fronted by singer Smokey Robinson.

  • Hair for Me!

    Hair for Me!

    October 31, 2016
    Function of Beauty fulfills the promise of personalization in the beauty space—one bottle at a time.

  • A Facial Bar Grows in Brooklyn

    A Facial Bar Grows in Brooklyn

    Christine Esposito, Associate Editor||October 24, 2016
    With three doors in Canada, Blitz Facial Bar opens its first US location in one of the hippest areas of New York.

  • Coming Clean on a Host of Issues

    Coming Clean on a Host of Issues

    October 17, 2016
    Cleaning Products Conference is set for Nov. 9-11, 2016 in Washington DC.

  • Let the Magic Begin!

    Let the Magic Begin!

    Tom Branna, Editorial Director||October 10, 2016
    IFSCC Congress gets underway at Walt Disney World this month.

  • Ogee Opens for Business

    Ogee Opens for Business

    Christine Esposito, Associate Editor||October 10, 2016
    Banking on the power of jojoba oil, a Vermont-based start-up is the newest player in organic luxury skin care.

  • P&G’s Latest Patents

    P&G’s Latest Patents

    Christine Esposito, Associate Editor||October 10, 2016
    A look at recent patent and IP related news from the biggest household and personal care player in the US.

  • A Cosmetic Armor Against Pollution

    A Cosmetic Armor Against Pollution

    Julia Comas, Cristina Davi, Elena Canadas, Laia Gonzalez, Raquel Delgado, Lipotec SAU||October 3, 2016
    Lipotec’s Pollushield creates a barrier between skin and pollutants and boosts the antioxidative potential of skin.