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Cleaning Products Right to Know Act

This article originally posted April 24, 2014 on our tumblr blog


Recently, Representative Steve Israel (D-NY) introduced the Cleaning Product Right to Know Act into Congress. Women’s Voices for the Earth has a good summary of what the bill entails, and if enacted it will mean more transparency for consumers.  At Meliora K, we already fully disclose all of our ingredients, and we would like to see more transparency from other cleaning products companies.  That’s why we support this bill.

Think for a moment about buying a new food product at the grocery store. If you care about the health of your family, what do you do before putting that item in your cart? Pick it up, turn the label, and read the ingredients. Perhaps your child has a food allergy, and you need to avoid certain dyes. Maybe you have a vegan in the house and are trying to avoid any animal ingredients, or maybe you don’t want to support companies that label their products as healthy but are filled with added sugars. After practicing on reading the ingredient lists of food products, you can quickly become a pro at avoiding items that you think are unhealthy or aren’t something you want to bring into your home.

Now think about doing the same with cleaning products. Currently, cleaning products companies are not required to disclose the ingredients they use. Like food allergies, many consumers are allergic to common substances found in cleaning products, such as fragrances. Without having this shown on the label, how can you avoid these items? Consumers aren’t used to checking ingredients labels on cleaning products because they aren’t legally required and many products simply don’t have them.  Shoppers should demand this information so they can make better choices.  Many people are used to being selective about what’s in the food products they bring into their homes and bodies, and it’s past time  cleaning products are held to these same high standards.

Only some companies, such as Seventh Generation and Meliora K, fully list the ingredients used in cleaning products. This law would impact us as well, by standardizing the way we present information so the same ingredient is written the same way on all products. Even when you choose products from a company that does disclose ingredients, it can often feel like you need an advanced degree and an afternoon to understand what the names mean and whether the ingredient is something you want to avoid. With so little regulation on what chemicals can be included in cleaning products, it is especially important that consumers get the clear information they need so they can choose the best products.

Avoiding certain products is the right of every consumer, and being able to make an informed decision about which products and ingredients to avoid requires that companies disclose what ingredients are used, clearly right on the label. We support the Cleaning Products Right to Know Act so that more people can begin to understand what is in their cleaning products. We know it’s a long road to making healthier cleaning choices, but requiring all cleaning product companies to list their ingredients is the first step in increasing awareness and allowing consumers to be better informed.