New York to Require Manufacturers to Disclose Chemical Ingredients in Cleaning Products

New York announced the launch of its Household Cleansing Product Information Disclosure Program on April 25, 2017. This program will require manufacturers of household cleaning products sold in New York to disclose – on their websites – information on the chemical ingredients of those products. The state has issued draft guidance on the disclosure requirements and the Household Cleansing Product Information Disclosure Program Certification Form. Public comment on the form will be accepted through June 14, 2017. Manufacturers are to post all required information by no less than six months following publication of the final guidance document. In a press release announcing the program, the governor’s office noted that this program will serve as a pilot for potential expansion to other consumer products of concern, such as personal care or children’s products.

The Household Cleansing Product Information Disclosure Program is based on New York’s Environmental Conservation Law Article 35 enacted in the 1970s. It authorizes the state to require manufacturers to furnish product information for the public record. These requirements have been codified in the state’s Code of Rules and Regulations (NYCRR) at Part 659.6.

Detailed instructions for posting the information required are provided in the guidance document. The guidance discusses where on a manufacturer’s website the information should be located. It also notes that “information disclosed under this program must not be restricted from indexing by search engines, such as Google and Bing.”

Information requirements include

• Whether the product contains fragrance ingredients, including ingredients added to mask the scent of other ingredients (solvents, surfactants, etc.) in so-called “unscented” products;
• Intentionally added ingredients;
• Trace quantities; and
• Ingredients present only as an unintentional consequence of manufacturing.

Manufacturers will also be required to report on which of the chemicals in their products have been subject to the GreenScreen® comparative chemical hazard assessment (for information on the GreenScreen® Benchmark program see, the Clean Product Action website). In addition, manufacturers must disclose whether their products contain any nanomaterials and whether any of the chemicals in their products are included on a list of chemicals of concern (for information on the lists of chemicals of concern at issue, see the guidance document).

Manufacturers will be required to update their disclosures each time the ingredients in a product are changed, or a new product is introduced to the market.

Verdant Proudly Sponsors Prop.65 Clearinghouse's Green Chemistry Conference

Green Chemistry:

Verdant is pleased to announce its sponsorship of the Prop.65 Clearinghouse Green Chemistry Annual Conference.  This year’s conference will be held on Tuesday, April 9, 2013, at the The City Club of San Francisco, 155 Sansome Street.

  • Verdant attorney, Philip Moffat, will present on “REACH 2013.”
  • Verdant attorney, Catherine Lin, will present on “Supply Chain Management.”

More information about the conference is available here and an agenda is available here.   A copy of Mr. Moffat’s presentation is available here [PDF].

DTSC Requests Public Comment on Another Draft of the Green Chemistry Regulations

California Green Chemistry Regulations:

The saga of California’s nascent Green Chemistry program continues. Last week, the Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) released the revised text (PDF) of its proposed Safer Consumer Product Regulations. The comment period for the revisions started on January 29 and closes on February 28, 2013.

Notably, the revised rules significantly pare down the list of potential Chemicals of Concern (COCs), which are now referred to as “Candidate Chemicals,” from over 3,000 to approximately 1,200. The Candidate Chemicals  are drawn from lists of substances which exhibit one or more hazard trait. The revisions also clarify that the list of Priority Products to be regulated will be developed and updated through the Administrative Procedure Act rulemaking process.

In addition, DTSC modified the applicability of upfront exemptions for certain products, providing an exemption for products already regulated by other laws that provide comparable health and environmental protections. However, products which are manufactured, stored, or transported through California solely for use outside of the state, or used in California solely for the manufacture of non-consumer products will no longer be exempted, although these factors will be considered in the product prioritization process.

Requirements for the certification and accreditation of assessors involved in developing Alternatives Analyses (AA) have been relaxed in favor of a public review and comment process for AA reports, a choice that seems likely to increase the administrative burden and place confidential business information at greater risk. The scope of evaluating economic impacts for AA reports has also been limited to “a monetized comparison of public health and environmental costs, and costs to governmental agencies and nonprofit organizations that manage waste, oversee environmental cleanup and restoration efforts, and/or are charged with protecting natural resources, water quality, and wildlife.”

Finally, DTSC’s ability to make regulatory responses has been further refined and clarified. For example, the revised proposal requires DTSC to provide notice (with accompanying public comment period) of its proposed regulatory response determination no later than 90 days after it issues a notice of compliance or disapproval for a submitted AA report. The revised proposal also limits the agency’s ability to impose certain regulatory responses on manufacturers only, and not on retailers or importers.

More details on the revised proposed regulations, including how to submit comments and a comprehensive summary of changes from the agency’s last proposal, are available on the DTSC’s website.

EPA Announces Proposed Revisions to FIFRA Minimum Risk Exemption


In a December 31, 2012 Federal Register notice, (77 Fed. Reg. 76,979) EPA announced a new proposed rule that would revise the labeling requirements for minimum risk pesticide products. The proposed rule affects section 25(b) of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (“FIFRA”) by changing how minimum risk pesticides are identified on product labels as well as the way ingredient lists are organized in the implementing regulations. In addition, producer contact information will be required on product labels.

Under FIFRA’s § 25(b) minimum risk exemption, pesticides with active and inert ingredients which are demonstrably safe do not need to be registered with EPA. These permitted ingredients are listed in 40 CFR 152.25(f), but because of ambiguities across the various ingredient lists, confusion remains as to which ingredients are covered and how they should be labeled, leading to increased regulatory burden and inefficiencies for state regulators. Many chemicals may be known by producers, regulators, and consumers by different names; for example, soybean oil may be described on a product label as “Glycine Soja Oil.”

EPA’s new proposed rule is intended to make clear which active ingredients are permitted in exempted pesticide products, and does not add or remove any ingredients from the list. Instead, EPA will identify permitted active ingredients by re-organizing them in tables including the chemical’s “Label Display Name” (e.g., “Citric Acid”), “Chemical Name” as determined by the Chemical Abstract Services (“CAS”) (e.g., “2-Hydroxypropane-1,2,3-tricarboxylic acid”) and “CAS Registry Number,” a unique identifier which is easy to use for consumers and widely accepted by industry and regulators alike. In addition, the table will include a “Specifications” column which will be empty for most ingredients, but will indicate the United States Pharmacopeia (“USP”) standard for “approximately 20 of the active ingredients.”

Inactive ingredients will also be re-organized into a table similar to the one proposed for active ingredients. This table will codify “List 4A,” the list of chemicals currently maintained on EPA’s website. In addition, EPA proposes to incorporate references to other CFR sections which describe which chemicals may be used as inert ingredients for the purpose of the minimum risk exemption. In the case of pesticides that may come in contact with foods, for which there are no federal tolerance levels or tolerance exemptions, EPA proposes to amend the text of the exemption to direct users to an EPA website for more information on which of the listed chemicals may be used in food-use pesticide products.

Finally, EPA proposes that exempted product labels must use the “label display name” in the product’s ingredient listing. The proposed rule also requires that producers of minimum risk pesticide products must include their company’s contact information (address and telephone number) on the product label. In the case of a product label which includes the name of a company that is not the producer, EPA proposes that the label text should clarify that the product was “packed for,” “distributed by,” or “sold by” the non-producer company.

EPA is requesting comments on various topics related to this proposal, including: the format and information to be included in the new tables; whether reference to an online resource with more information on food-use pesticide tolerance requirements would provide clarity for stakeholders; impacts on state and local agencies; and whether products would need to be reformulated as a result of the changes. The comment period for this proposed rule ends on April 1, 2013.

New EPCRA TRI Website

EPCRA Toxics Release Inventory (TRI):

On November 19, 2012, EPA rolled out a new website to provide information on how industrial facilities are preventing releases of chemicals. The site shows how industry is making progress in reducing releases reported under Section 313 of the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (ECPCRA).  The site and additional information about the TRI program is available  here

FTC Publishes Revised Green Guides

Green Marketing:

On October 2, 2012, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) published long-awaited revised guidelines, known as the Green Guides, to aid marketers in properly making environmental benefit claims.   The FTC released its final revisions after a multiyear investigatory process, which included marketing surveys as well as reviewing comments from companies, trade organizations, government entities and individuals.  The the Green Guides lack the force of law, they provide guidance on how to avoid false or misleading environmental marketing claims in violation of Section 5 of the FTC Act, which prohibits unfair or deceptive acts or practices.

Below is a short summary of some of the major changes contained within the final revisions.

Highlights of the Newly Revised Green Guides

General Environmental Benefit Claims: The Green Guides caution against making general environmental benefit claims, such as using the words “green” or “eco-friendly,” without stating the basis for and qualifying these terms. The qualifying information must be clear, prominent and available at the point of sale—so consumers are able to see it before making their purchasing decisions.

Carbon Offsets: Marketers should use competent and reliable scientific evidence and comprehensive accounting methods to support their claims. However, an offset claim is inappropriate if the activity that makes the basis of the claim is required by law. If the offset purchase will pay for an emission reduction that will not occur for at least two years, then marketers are encouraged to disclose this information.

Certifications and Seals of Approval: The Green Guides also make recommendations for certifications and seals of approval used for endorsements. Marketers are encouraged to use environmental certifications or seals that convey the basis for the certification, but if these are not available, then they should clearly identify the product’s specific environmental benefits. Marketers are also encouraged to disclose their material connections with certifying organizations and must verify all express and implied claims when using third-party certification.

Compostable or Degradable:   “Compostable” claims must be based on competent and reliable scientific evidence, showing that product or packaging materials will become usable compost. Marketers should qualify if the product is not able to be composted in a safe or timely fashion. “Degradable” claims do not have to be qualified if the product or package can completely break down within a reasonably short amount of time, typically one year.

“Free-Off”:  “Free-of” claims can be made if the product contains trace amounts, background levels or less of the substance; the substance was not intentionally added to the product; and the amount contained with the product will not cause the type of harm linked to the substance.  The final revision differs from the standard articulated in the draft revision, and it will certainly create challenges for marketers.

 Non-Toxic:  For “non-toxic” claims, marketers should employ competent and reliable scientific evidence showing that the product is safe for people and the environment, unless otherwise qualified.  A product might be considered “non-toxic” under certain agency regulations designed to protect human health, but those regulations might not ensure protection for the environment.

Ozone-Safe:  Marketers are cautioned against misrepresenting that a product is safe for the atmosphere or ozone layer because the FTC finds that these can be unqualified general environmental benefit claims.

Recyclable and Recycled Content: The Green Guides also provide guidance regarding “recyclable” and “recycled content” claims. Recyclable claims should be qualified if recycling facilities are unavailable to 60 percent of consumers or communities to whom manufacturers sell a product. Recycled content refers to material recovered or diverted from waste during manufacturing or post-consumer use. Marketers are advised to qualify claims for products or packaging constructed partly from recycled material and specify the amount of partly recycled material contained therein. In addition, qualified claims should be made for products containing used, reconditioned or remanufactured parts.

Refillable: Marketers should not make unqualified “refillable” claims unless they identify a method to refill the product.

Renewable Materials and Energy : With claims like “made with renewable materials or energy,” the guides provide that marketers should qualify claims with specific information about the renewable materials used, such as what the renewable material is, how it is sourced and what qualifies it as renewable. Also, the Green Guides specify that marketers should qualify claims of renewable energy by specifying the source (e.g., wind or solar). If the power used to manufacture the product or any component of the product comes from fossil fuels, a renewable energy claim is inappropriate unless renewable energy certificates are purchased to link with energy use.

Source Reduction:  Finally, “source reduction” claims should be qualified with the amount of reduction and the basis for comparison from which the claim is made (e.g., “30 percent less runof f than our earlier model”).

 “Sustainable” and “Organic” Are Not Addressed:   The final revisions offer no guidance on claims regarding “sustainability” and whether a product is “organic.” The FTC claims that it lacks a sufficient basis or context to provide guidance on these claims because these terms have numerous meanings among consumers. However, the Green Guides caution marketers from making these types of claims without impunity.


The complete final revisions to the FTC’s Green Marketing Guides are available here.   Additional information is also available on the FTC’s dedicated website

EPA to Post List of Chemicals Acceptable for DfE-labeled Products

Design for the Environment (DfE) / Green Chemistry:

EPA’s Design for the Environment (DfE) team announced today that, in September, it will post on the agency’s website a list of chemicals that are acceptable for use in DfE-labeled products.   Questions or comments about the proposal should be submitted to EPA by August 24, 2012.  The contact at DfE is Bridget Williams (

As readers know, over the years many DfE stakeholders have requested that EPA issue a list of safer chemicals.  According to the agency’s press release, EPA’s intent is for the list to serve as a resource for product formulators and consumers, to increase understanding of the DfE Safer Product Labeling Program and the types of chemicals in DfE-labeled products.  The list is also intended to enhance the dialogue on safer chemicals and products.  

EPA is compiling its list from the ingredients in DfE-labeled products, as well as from chemicals eligible for use in labeled products – i.e., chemicals that meet the DfE criteria. The chemicals will be identified by their specific chemical name and Chemical Abstract Service (CAS) number and grouped by functional class—surfactants, solvents, etc. (chemicals with more than one common functionality may be listed in multiple classes).

A color code will appear next to each chemical to indicate its safer chemical status.  A green circle will appear next to chemicals that have met the DfE component-class criteria; a green/yellow square next to chemicals that have met the DfE criteria as adapted for their necessary functional characteristics, but are missing some experimental data on potential hazards; and a yellow triangle next to chemicals that have met the DfE criteria as adapted for their necessary functional characteristics, but have unresolved hazard profile issues.

No other information about the chemical—not its source, manufacturer, or use; association with a trade name product, percentages in formulation, etc.—will appear in the listing. EPA intends to include on this list the ingredients in third-party formulations sold by manufacturers to DfE participants, and will likewise not associate those ingredients with specific products. Also, no chemicals on the confidential portion of the Toxic Substances Control Act Inventory will be included in the listing.

According to the agency’s press release, the DfE list will complement the Green-Blue Institute’s CleanGredients database (, which will continue to serve as a marketplace for chemicals that are acceptable for use in DfE-labeled products and provide trade name chemicals, physical-chemical and functional properties, hazard information, vendor contacts, and other information.

Final OSHA Rule Published on Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals


March 26, 2012, the Federal Register published OSHA’s final Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS).  With this rule OSHA has modified its Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) to be consistent with to the United Nations’ System. 

GHS Requirements

OSHA estimates that 880,000 hazardous chemicals are currently used in the U.S., and over 40 million employees are now potentially exposed to hazardous chemicals in over 5 million workplaces.  Approximately 75,000 firms create hazardous chemicals (i.e., products, substances, or mixtures) for which new labels and ‘safety data sheets’ (formerly material safety data sheets) will be required.

OSHA explains that implementation of the GHS will improve HCS by changing the performance requirements for labels to the GHS-specific requirements that labels include four standardized elements: a signal word; hazard statement(s); pictogram(s); and precautionary statement(s).  The appropriate label elements for a chemical are to be determined by the hazard classification.  Standardized label elements will better convey critically important hazard warnings, and provide useful information regarding precautionary measures that will serve to better protect employees than the performance-oriented approach of the current rule. 

Chemical manufacturers and importers will be required to re-evaluate chemicals according to the GHS criteria.  Chemicals must be classified based on the type and degree of hazards posed.  For health hazards, this will involve assigning the chemical both to the appropriate hazard category and subcategory (called hazard class).  For physical hazards new criteria are generally consistent with current DOT transportation requirements.  Preparation and distribution of modified labels and safety data sheets by chemical manufacturers and importers will also be required. 


The rule adopts only sections of the GHS within the scope of OSHA jurisdiction.  DOT, CPSC and EPA will implement GHS at a later date.  EPA and OSHA have worked together to develop a common position on coverage of pesticides and chemicals.  The GHS will not require additional labels on pesticides labeled under EPA requirements; that is, the final products that enter into commerce.  However, OSHA GHS requirements will apply to the other chemical ingredients of pesticides; the ‘inactive’ ingredients or cleaning products that are hazardous.  This is a continuation of current OSHA HCS worker protection requirements.  OSHA anticipates that EPA will provide guidance to their regulated community on how to develop an OSHA GHS-compliant SDS to avoid conflict with pesticide labeling requirements. 

Key GHS Elements

Hazard communication.  A key goal of the final GHS is to better communicate hazard information to those most at risk—the workers exposed to hazardous chemicals Hazard communication requirements are provided in 29 CFR § 1910.1200.  Appendix C, Allocation of Label Elements, details how specified label elements apply to each hazard class and hazard category.  Appendix D, Safety Data Sheets, specifies requirements for the 16 SDS elements.

Concentration limits.  OSHA announced it will require the most protective GHS concentration limits for hazard classifications.  For example, for sensitizers and reproductive toxins, the final rule requires information to be provided on labels and safety data sheets at concentrations above 0.1%.  (See e.g., Appendix C, Allocation of Label Elements.)

Precautionary statements.  In addition to hazard statements, the GHS requires precautionary statements that describe recommended measures that should be taken to protect against hazardous exposures, or improper storage or handling of a chemical.  (See Appendix D, Safety Data Sheets).  Precautionary statements must also address hazard information necessary to protect workers from “hazards not otherwise classified that have been identified during the classification process.” (See Table D.1.)

Mixtures.  Health hazards posed by mixtures should be addressed based on the risks posed by the mixture itself, rather than by the hazards posed by the component chemicals individually.  The GHS does allow alternative classification methodologies where primary data are unavailable, including extrapolation and bridging.  The rule specifies procedures for determining whether mixtures are covered by the Standard. 

Chemical manufacturers, importers, distributors, or employers who become newly aware of any significant information regarding the hazards of a chemical shall revise the labels for the chemical within six months of becoming aware of the new information.  New information about hazards and ways to protect against hazards must be added to the SDS within three months. 

OSHA has modified General Industry Standards containing hazard classification and communication provisions so that they will be internally consistent and aligned with the GHS modifications to the HCS. 


Timeline.  Compliance with all of the provisions for preparation of new labels and safety data sheets is required by June 1, 2015.  Distributors will be allowed an additional six months to distribute containers received from chemical manufacturers and importers with the old labels and MSDSs in order to accommodate those they receive very close to the compliance date.  Workplace labels and training programs must be updated by June 1, 2016. 

State implementation.  OSHA intends to closely scrutinize amendments to previously approved State hazard communication standards to ensure equal or greater effectiveness, including assurance that any additional requirements do not conflict with, or adversely affect, the effectiveness of the national application of OSHA’s standard.

Guidance.  OSHA will be offering guidance materials such as quick cards and fact sheets to aid firms in developing and implementing the training requirements of this rule.  OSHA will also be releasing a small business compliance guide to provide additional guidance to small businesses, which will ease the economic impact and compliance burden. 

Next Steps

OSHA notes that the GHS is a living document, and the UN actively reviews it and considers possible changes based on implementation experiences and other information.  These changes are made on a two-year cycle, referred to as a biennium.  The OSHA proposal and the final rule are based on Revision 3 of the GHS.  OSHA will undertake future rulemaking as necessary to reflect new technological and scientific developments and UN revisions to GHS requirements.

Although not addressed in the rule, OSHA discusses interest in the development of a common classification database.  The European Union plan to deploy one.  Japan, Taiwan, South Korea, and New Zealand have already done so.  However, classifications in these databases are not necessarily the same for the same chemical.  OSHA would like an international database of classifications developed and maintained.  A UN Sub-committee has been established to explore the issue further. 


Environmental Advocates Want Disclosure of Chemicals in Consumer Products

Chemicals in Consumer Products:

Researchers at the Silent Spring Institute argue that the findings of their consumer product evaluation illustrate the need for full disclosure of ingredient information. The Institute tested consumer products — ranging from toothpaste to laundry detergent — for compounds identified as either endocrine disruptors or asthma-related. Most products evaluated by the Institute included one or more “chemicals of concern.”  In their report, the researchers emphasize that current chemical testing and product labeling requirements do not prevent the use of hormone disruptors or asthma-associated chemicals in products or provide enough information for consumers to avoid them. Silent Springs published its findings in the March 8, 2012 issue of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences’ Environmental Health Perspectives.  The report has proven highly controversial and been severely criticized by industry for a flawed methodology and equating the mere presence of a chemical in a product with a lack of product safety.

The Institute, and other environmental and public health advocates, clearly plan to use the report to support their arguments for robust reforming of TSCA, the primary federal statute for regulating chemicals in the United States.  Such advocates argue that many consumer products contain chemicals known to adversely affect human health. They note that for numerous common commercial chemicals, information about their presence in consumer products is limited. In particular, little information is available about hazardous chemical exposures from personal care and cleaning products.

The Institute found 55 chemicals of concern in conventional and “green” consumer products. The evaluation assessed consumer products for the presence of 66 known endocrine disruptors and asthma causing chemicals. Tested consumer products ranged from toothpaste to laundry detergent. The researchers found bis-2-ethylhexyl phthalate, diethanolamine, and glycol ethers in high concentrations. They found phthalates, monoethanolamine, alkylphenols, parabens, and cyclosiloxanes in many of the products.  Sunscreens and scented products such as air fresheners and dryer sheets contained both the largest number of target chemicals and some of the highest chemical concentrations. However, the Institute did not report whether these chemicals were present above limits setting safe levels of exposure.  For example, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health recommends diethanolamine exposure be limited to 3 parts per million.

The researchers allege that regulations require only limited product labeling, thereby limiting the information available to consumers.  Personal products such as sunscreens, deodorants, and anti-bacterial hand soaps are largely regulated as over-the-counter drugs by the FDA. FDA regulations mandate only that “active” ingredients be identified on product labels.  The Institute asserts that EPA has primary regulatory oversight of cleaning products, and only when these products are pesticide products (e.g., products that will kill bacteria and viruses) is active ingredient labeling required. Many consumer products call themselves “natural,” “non-toxic,” and “green;” however, the Institute contends that these terms are unregulated and the chemical contents of such products do not necessarily differ from comparable products.

The Institute also argues that gaps in ingredient information are also problematic for regulators.  It argues that EPA, for example, relies on ingredient concentrations in products for exposure modeling. 

And lastly, the researchers conclude that further study of the risks posed by the types of chemical mixtures that are found in personal care products, cleaning products, etc. are needed to understand their effects on human health.

US News, Forbes, Consumer Reports, and many other news outlets have published stories on this report.

US EPA and California DTSC Form Green Chemistry Partnership

Sustainable Products/Green Chemistry:

On January 12, 2012, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) announced their Green Chemistry Partnership.  The agencies’ agreement is memorialized in a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that outlines principles by which the agencies will cooperate to reduce toxic chemicals in consumer products, create new business opportunities in the emerging safer consumer products economy, and reduce the burden on consumers and businesses struggling to identify what’s in the products they buy for their families and customers.

The agrement supposedly will allow DTSC and EPA to minimize duplication of effort and promote consistency in their assessment methodologies, potentially providing increased environmental protection. The agreement sets up a framework for the agencies to collaborate on Green Chemistry issues so that California’s innovative “Green Chemistry” program can grow.

Jim Jones, EPA’s acting assistant administrator for the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention said:  “This partnership will build and harmonize common tools and practices used to conduct alternative assessments to promote safer products ….  These alternative assessments inform and speed the adoption of safer chemicals for use in products, homes, schools, and workplaces, which produce significant environmental and economic benefits.”

In its press release, EPA said:  “The agreement represents a major advance for Californians looking to buy safer children’s toys, personal care products, household cleaners and other products. By shifting the question of an ingredient’s toxicity to the product development stage, concerns raised by … consumers can be addressed early on. The approach results in safer ingredients, and provides an opportunity for California industry to once again demonstrate its innovative spirit by making products that meet consumer demand throughout the world.”

EPA and DTSC signed the agreement in a ceremony at California’s Kaiser Permanente Sidney R. Garfield Health Care Innovation Center in San Leandro. Kaiser Permanente is nationally recognized as an industry leader in safer products, using its purchasing power and a sustainability scorecard to press suppliers for safer chemicals in medical products.