New Hazardous Chemicals Disclosure on Cleaning Products

California – Gov Jerry Brown has signed into law the requirement that any hazardous chemicals found in household cleaning products will have to be clearly disclosed on labels and online under a California law that will be phased in over the next three years.

The LA Times reports that the law, which will be phased in over the next three years, is poised to put the state at the front of a national discussion about the rights of consumers to know what dangerous chemicals or allergens may be in common cleaners. The ingredients must be posted online by manufacturers in 2020, and on product labels by 2021.

The bill, amended a half-dozen times over the course of legislative negotiations this year, would give consumers additional information when it comes to selecting which cleaners they use. Supporters said it could also allow consumers with specific allergies or asthma to determine if a specific cleaner’s ingredients might make that condition worse.

Workplaces, such as schools, hospitals, hotels, restaurants and manufacturing plants, use cleaning chemicals to ensure the cleanliness of their buildings. Workers who handle these products include building maintenance workers, janitors, and housekeepers.

Some cleaning chemicals can be hazardous, causing problems ranging from skin rashes and burns to coughing and asthma. Many employers are switching to green cleaning products because they are thought to be less hazardous to workers and the environment.

OSHA/NIOSH’s INFOSHEET provides information to employers on practices to help keep workers safe when working with cleaning chemicals, including green cleaning products. Employers should note recent advances in safe cleaning practices and the availability of modern cleaning equipment that minimizes the use of chemicals.

Practices and equipment to consider include:

• Walk-off mats placed inside and outside of entryways (to prevent dirt from being tracked into the building);
• Microfiber mops, cloths, and dusters;
• High-filtration HEPA vacuums;
• Walk-behind hard floor auto-scrubbers;
• Hands-free mops; and
• Chemical-free cleaning systems.