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California Legislature Passes Cleaning Product Right to Know Act

The California legislature passed the Cleaning Product Right to Know Act 2017 (SB 258) (the CPRTK Act), which was presented to Governor Jerry Brown on September 19, 2017, after the legislative session adjourned on September 15, 2017. Governor Brown now has until October 15, 2017, to sign or veto the bill. The Act requires manufacturers of cleaning products (defined as products “used primarily for commercial, domestic, or institutional cleaning purposes”) to disclose chemical ingredients and other information on both product labels and product websites, subjecting cleaning supplies to the same transparency requirements of cosmetics and food products. The chemicals required to be listed are intentionally added chemicals that are included on designated lists or, certain fragrance allergens designed under EU regulations. Listings of chemicals on the Proposition 65 are not required until January 1, 2023.

Manufacturers of consumer and institutional air care, automotive, general cleaning, polish and floor maintenance products are already required under the Federal Hazardous Substances Act (FHSA) to provide warnings about hazards, such as flammability, combustibility, or toxicity (dermal, ingestion and inhalation toxicity). Required warnings include statements of principal hazard, which must appear on principal display panels (PDPs), as well as recommended emergency and medical care, and typically requires disclosure of the principal ingredients that may result in a hazard. However, the FHSA does not require a full list of chemical ingredients. California is not the first state with a right-to-know statute. New Jersey passed a similar law in 2013, but required only disclosure of primary ingredients above certain concentrations in the workplace. The CPRTK Act goes further, requiring makers of designated products to list chemicals of concern and most other ingredients on both product labels and websites. And, for the first time, the presence of fragrance allergens must also be disclosed. In addition to the burden the CPRTK Act would place on manufacturers, employers would be required to make safety data sheets available disclosing the contents of workplace cleaning products.

Some major manufacturers have come out in favor of the bill, although others are concerned that mandatory listing of chemical ingredients might undermine basic product safety and risk avoidance information required under the FHSA related to hazards that might be more significant to consumers based on actual use patterns. Several industry groups initially expressed concern over protecting trade secret formulas. Now, the bill does not force manufacturers to list intentionally-added ingredients-including fragrance ingredients-that are protected as confidential business information (CBI). Such protected CBI includes any intentionally-added ingredient that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has approved for inclusion on the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) Confidential Inventory, or that the manufacturer (or its supplier) claims protection for under the Uniform Trade Secrets Act.

Existing requirements under the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OSH Act) already require employers to share information through safety data sheets on substances in the workplace. This bill would require employers already covered by such requirements to make certain information about designated chemicals available in similar fashion.
The bill has been presented to Governor Jerry Brown for signature, who is expected to sign. If he does not sign or veto by October 15, 2017, it will become law. Once the bill becomes law, manufacturer websites must be updated by January 1, 2020, and product labels by January 1, 2021.

© 2020 Keller and Heckman LLP


About this Author

Sheila Millar, Keller Heckman, advertising lawyer, privacy attorney

Sheila A. Millar counsels corporate and association clients on advertising, privacy, product safety, and other public policy and regulatory compliance issues.

Ms. Millar advises clients on an array of advertising and marketing issues.  She represents clients in legislative, rulemaking and self-regulatory actions, advises on claims, and assists in developing and evaluating substantiation for claims. She also has extensive experience in privacy, data security and cybersecurity matters.  She helps clients develop website and app privacy policies,...

Jean-Cyril Walker, Keller Heckman, Environmental Compliance Lawyer, Renewable Fuel Standards Attorney

Jean-Cyril Walker joined Keller and Heckman in 2000. He advises clients on a wide range of environmental matters, including compliance with U.S. requirements governing the safe management and disposal of chemical and hazardous substances. Mr. Walker counsels fuel industry clients on federal and state requirements governing the development and distribution of fuels and fuel additives, including the renewable fuel standards (RFS and RFS2), and matters involving renewable fuel identification number (RIN) transactions. Mr. Walker regularly advises industry and trade association clients on matters concerning the regulation of hazardous air pollutants under the federal Clean Air Act (CAA) and state and local air pollution statutes. In this regard, Mr. Walker has advised clients on compliance with numerous MACT standards, including those governing pharmaceutical production, chemical manufacturing, can and other surface coatings, and other industrial operations. Mr. Walker has extensive experience with CARB regulations, and in particular, on complying with regulations governing emission of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in adhesives, paints, and other industrial and consumer products.