New York State wants to require manufacturers of cleaning products to disclose all ingredients and trace contaminants added during processing if the compounds are considered threats to public health or the environment.
The draft change to a state regulation covers the probable carcinogen 1,4-dioxane, which has been found in trace amounts in Long Island’s aquifers, and thousands more chemicals listed as eye and skin irritants, endocrine disrupters, carcinogens, asthma inducers or neurotoxins. It also applies to chemicals that deplete the ozone layer or are considered aquatic toxins.
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s office announced the regulation Tuesday. It applies to soaps and detergents used to clean fabrics, dishes, food and utensils in homes and businesses. Fragrances added to cleaning products also must be disclosed.
It does not apply to personal care items like toothpaste and shampoo, according to a proposed disclosure form.
The state is accepting comments on the disclosure form until June 14, and the requirement will take effect six months after the final form is published. The draft form can be found at www.dec.ny.gov.
Department of Health Commissioner Howard Zucker said in a news release Tuesday that the regulation “will give New York consumers the tools they need to make informed choices for themselves and for their families, and limit unknown exposure to potentially harmful chemicals.”
The regulation will require manufacturers to post ingredients on their websites. Unintentionally added compounds in trace amounts must be disclosed if they appear on one of 16 state, national and international lists of chemicals of concern, state Department of Environmental Conservation officials said.
Brian Sansoni, spokesman for the Washington D.C.-based American Cleaning Institute, said the cleaning-products industry was reviewing the regulation.
The institute maintains a public cleaning product ingredient safety database. In an email, the organization said its database “provides a striking counterweight to the urban myths that there are no data available on common cleaning product ingredients.”
That database, however, does not include incidental ingredients, which can be byproducts of manufacturing.
The state also is working with the Interstate Chemicals Clearinghouse in Boston to develop a database of ingredient information.
“We do know that cleaning products can trigger a variety of health conditions,” said Terri Goldberg, executive director of the Northeast Waste Management Officials’ Association, which oversees the clearinghouse.
The regulation also will help discern if manufacturers are living up to safety and environment-friendly claims, Goldberg said.
“This is about disclosure and empowering consumers,” said state Sen. Todd Kaminsky (D-Long Beach), who has filed a bill to ban the sale in of cosmetic and cleaning products with 1,4-dioxane in New York, and require the state to set a safe drinking water standard for the chemical.
The man-made chemical is not regulated under safe drinking water standards set by the Environmental Protection Agency, but Cuomo has asked the agency to set a limit. Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) has filed a petition with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to require manufacturers remove 1,4-dioxane from personal care products.
Used as a solvent in manufacturing, 1,4-dioxane also is found in cleaning and personal care products, typically as a byproduct.
The regulation could be extended at a later date to include personal care and children’s products, Cuomo’s office said. His office also said the state plans to propose new restrictions on dry cleaning chemicals, such as the probable carcinogen perchloroethylene.