So, Where Is the Promised Disclosure Program for Household Cleaning Products?

May 24, 2018

State Environmental Regulation

In his 2017 State of the State address, New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced that the state would require manufacturers of household cleaning products to disclose chemical ingredients on their websites. Several months later, on April 25, 2017 (coinciding with Earth Week), the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) took a major step toward that end when it released the “Draft 2017 Household Cleansing Product Information Disclosure Program Certification Form and Guidance Document,” available at https://www.dec.ny.gov/docs/administration_pdf/cleanpdtingr.pdf. The NYSDEC’s public comment period on the draft document ended on July 14, 2017.

The accompanying announcement, available at https://www.governor.ny.gov/news/governor-cuomo-announces-new-regulations-require-disclosure-chemicals-household-cleaning, boasted that “New York is the first state in the nation to require manufacturers to disclose ingredients in household cleaning products, which may contain chemicals with negative health impacts for humans and the environment.”

As of this writing, however, the NYSDEC has not yet finalized its program or the disclosure form. In fact, Newsday reported in mid-April that Basil Seggos, the NYSDEC commissioner, said that the NYSDEC was in the process of incorporating the 864 comments it received on the proposal and that he was “not concerned whatsoever” with the “slight delay we’ve had.” Newsday added in its article, available at https://www.newsday.com/news/region-state/1-4-dioxane-1.18019931that state officials “would not give a timeline as to when the disclosure form and guidance would be finalized.”

In the meantime, California leapfrogged over New York to become the first state to require ingredient labeling for cleaning products. The “Cleaning Product Right to Know Act of 2017” was signed into law by California Governor Jerry Brown last October 15, and it went into effect on January 1, 2018 (although companies have two years to comply with the law’s online disclosure requirements and three years to comply with its labeling rules).

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Charlotte A. Biblow, a partner in the environmental, land use and municipal law and litigation departments of Farrell Fritz, can be reached at cbiblow@farrellfritz.com.

Reprinted with permission from New York Law Journal, May 24 Vol. 259- No. 100

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  • Related Practice Areas: Commercial Litigation, Environmental, Land Use & Municipal