Over the past year, the use of cleaning and disinfection products has skyrocketed. Many people have become concerned about the ingredients in disinfectant products and whether it is safe to use them as frequently as we have been. First and foremost, disinfectants and sanitizers are regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and are subjected to intense scrutiny by the agency as well as by state regulators. All EPA-registered disinfectant products are safe to use as directed. However, until recently, consumers were not assured of their right to know what is in these products, which may have prevented people from making their own informed choices.
What is the law that mandates disclosure of cleaning product ingredients?
SB258 is a piece of legislation from the State of California that impacts the cleaning and disinfection industry throughout the United States. SB258, also called the Cleaning Product Right to Know Act of 2017, requires manufacturers to disclose on a product label and on the product’s web site information regarding chemicals found in the product. Products listed as disinfectants, which are EPA-registered, are not required to print ingredients on the product label, however, they must comply with full online disclosure of ingredients.
Under this law, cleaners and EPA-registered disinfectants have been required to disclose ingredients online since January 1, 2020. Cleaners will also need to disclose ingredients on the product label by January 1, 2021, but EPA-registered disinfectants are exempt from the requirement to disclose on the product label. See the table below for a helpful summary.
|Disclose Ingredients Online
|Disclose Ingredients on Product Label
|January 1, 2020
|January 1, 2021
|January 1, 2020
Companies are required to disclose more than just ingredients added to a product
Under SB258, manufacturers are required to disclose online:
- Intentionally added ingredients.
- Non-functional constituents greater than 0.01% (or 100 ppm). Non-functional constituents may include known natural breakdown products of intentionally added ingredients.
- Chemical abstracts service (CAS) numbers for specific ingredients. CAS numbers are used as chemical identifiers.
- Each ingredient’s function. For example, whether the ingredient is a solvent, surfactant, cleaning agent, antimicrobial agent, preservative, pH adjuster, or fragrance.
- Whether an ingredient is on one of 22 designated lists, which are lists of chemicals produced by a variety of state, federal, and international governments or agencies. Chemicals covered on these designated lists may include persistent bioaccumulatives, mutagens, carcinogens, reproductive toxicants, endocrine disruptors, neurotoxicants, respiratory sensitizers, toxic air contaminants, and water pollutants.
- Safety Data Sheets (SDS).
Where can I find ingredient information?
All ingredient disclosure information should be available on, or accessible from, a product website. The Clorox Company and several other companies use a third-party hosting site, called Smart Label (http://smartlabel.org/), to list ingredient disclosures for each of its products. Other companies may list their ingredients directly on the product website or on the SDS for the product.
Ingredient disclosure is law but, unfortunately, not all companies have made it easy to find this information. Look for labels like “ingredient disclosure,” “product details,” “ingredient list” and “designated lists,” or explore other tabs on a product website like “Safety Information.” If you are unable to find an ingredient disclosure for a product you are interested in, reach out to their customer service representatives to request the information.
Try for yourself!
1. SB-258 Cleaning Product Right to Know Act of 2017. (n.d.). Retrieved March 22, 2021, from https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billNavClient.xhtml?bill_id=201720180SB258