Consumer Products Ingredient Disclosure Laws

It is important to know about the products that you wish to buy or use and particularly their ingredients in a consumer products supply chain.

Product Right to Know (PRTK) Act is important and was signed into law in the state of California in 2017 for the cleaning products to disclose the information on both the product’s label and the company or the manufacturer’s name.

Currently, there is no Federal law for the consumer products and their ingredients disclosure. Cleaning Product Manufacturers in some states in the U.S. are working to comply with the State Ingredient Disclosure Laws and their requirements.

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The State of California and the New York has now their own requirements for manufacturers related to some of the specific consumer product such as cleaning items including household cleaners, clothes, and dish washing detergents.

The manufacturers have to make extensive ingredients disclosures to the public for the safety of public health and the environment. The ingredient disclosures are now required on both product labels and on manufacturers’ websites.

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At present certain chemical identities may be withheld to protect the confidential business information (CBI) but could be sought under other acts or rules and regulations.

All information on the products should be disclosed for the compliance purpose except some exceptions allowed by the Federal, state, or local governments.

Requirements on the patented or confidential business information (CBI) and on some trade formulas as trade secrets are stated by the regulatory agencies.

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The U. S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires cosmetics to have an “ingredient declaration,” a list of all the product’s ingredients. FDA requires labeling under the Fair Packaging and Labeling Act (FPLA). For details, visit the web page at:

This law is intended to make sure consumers have information they can use to compare the value of different products available in the market and make informed choices when comparing the product ingredients. According to the FPLA, regulations for this list of ingredients must not be used to force a company to disclose “trade secrets”. Fragrance and flavor ingredients of cosmetic products may be the “trade secrets” of the products in question should not be listed individually on cosmetic labels.

SVHCs & Consumer Products

For “trade secret” information or any other ingredient, the company has to comply with the requirements given in that regulation. Follow the process if applicable for the confidentiality request under the Freedom of Information Act or the Patenting Ingredients from the U.S. Patent and Trade Office (USPTO).  You cannot use both; one has to choose only one.

Product’s Label and the Company or the Manufacturer’s Name

A label is a piece of paper, plastic film, cloth, metal, or other material affixed to a container or product, on which is written or printed information or symbols about the product or the item. Information printed directly on a container or article can also be considered labeling.

The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires chemical labels must include 6 distinct elements under the “Hazard Communication” or the GHS of 2013. Product label should include the manufacturer’s phone number and website.

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The Product Identifier- normally placed in the upper left hand corner of the label, and corresponds with Section 1 of the Safety Data Sheet (SDS).

  • Signal Word
  • Hazard Statements
  • Precautionary Statements
  • Supplier Information

Chemical manufacturers and importers are required to provide a label that includes a harmonized signal word, pictogram, and hazard statement for each hazard class and category. Precautionary statements must also be provided. Safety Data Sheets (SDSs) now available in specified 16-section format of a SDS.

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The California Cleaning Products Right to Know Act

The California Cleaning Products Right to Know Act is applicable to:

  • Air Care Products: products intended to enhance or condition the indoor environment by eliminating unpleasant odors or freshening the air.
  • Automotive Products: products intended to maintain the appearance of a motor vehicle including products for washing, waxing, polishing, cleaning, or treating the exterior or interior surfaces of motor vehicles. Does not include automotive paint or paint repair products.

Plastics & Substances of Very High Concerns (SVHCs)

  • General Cleaning Products: this category includes soaps, detergents or other products the purpose of which is to clean, disinfect, or otherwise care for: fabric, dishes, or other wares; surfaces including but not limited to floors, furniture, countertops, showers, and baths; or other hard surfaces, such as stove tops, microwaves, and other appliances. Examples of covered products under this category include general purpose cleaners, such as glass cleaners, Disinfectants (Web site only; exempt from labeling provisions), floor cleaners, and laundry and dish detergents.
  • Bathroom and tile cleaners
  • Carpet cleaners

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The New York law applies to products:

Household Cleansing Product. soaps and detergents, containing a surfactant as a wetting or dirt emulsifying agent and used primarily for domestic or commercial cleaning purposes, including but not limited to, the cleansing of fabrics, dishes, food utensils and household and commercial premises.

Products that are intended to be used primarily in industrial manufacturing, production, and assembling processes are also excluded from the “containing a surfactant as a wetting or dirt emulsifying agent and used primarily for domestic or commercial purposes, including but not limited to the cleansing of fabrics, dishes, food utensils, and household and commercial premises.” The definition contains exclusions for food; drugs; cosmetics; and pesticides.

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California Separate Disclosure Requirements

The California law will impose separate disclosure requirements applicable to product labels (effective January 1, 2021) and manufacturer websites (effective January 1, 2020). The product labeling requirements go into effect on January 1, 2021.

Determining whether the chemical identity of an ingredient needs to be disclosed on the label can be a complicated process necessitating answers to the following questions.

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Is the ingredient on a designated list? The law requires disclosure of certain ingredients that appear on one or more lists maintained by environmental agencies worldwide, including California’s Proposition 65 list; the European Union list of Substances of Very High Concern (SVHCs); chemicals for which neurotoxicity is indicated by EPA’s Integrated Risk Information System; chemicals with certain EU classification (carcinogens, mutagens, or reproductive toxicants); chemicals identified as persistent, bioaccumulative, and toxic under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act; etc.

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Has the ingredient been intentionally added to the product? The law defines “intentionally added ingredient” as: “a chemical that a manufacturer has intentionally added to a designated product and that has a functional or technical effect in the designated product, including, but not limited to, the components of intentionally added fragrance ingredients and colorants and intentional breakdown products of an added chemical that also have a functional or technical effect in the designated product.”

Is the ingredient a listed fragrance allergen? The law requires disclosure of certain fragrance allergens included on Annex III of the EU Cosmetics Regulation No. 1226/2009, as required by be labeled by the EU Detergents Regulation No. 648/2004.

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Is the ingredient eligible for CBI protection? The law provides certain disclosure protections for ingredients that appear on the Toxic Substances Control Act Confidential Inventory or for which the manufacturer or its supplier claim protection under the Uniform Trade Secrets Act. CBI claims are not available for certain ingredients, including intentionally added ingredients that appear on a designated list.

The law also requires that a product label include the manufacturer’s phone number and website. If the list does not disclose all intentionally added ingredients in the product, the label must contain a statement similar to “For more ingredient information, visit [manufacturer’s website].”

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Website Requirements

The website disclosure requirements go into effect on January 1, 2020. These are broader than the product label requirements, i.e., there may be some ingredients that must be disclosed on a website but need not be disclosed on the product label.

Generally, all intentionally added ingredients must be disclosed on the manufacturer’s website (with certain exceptions, e.g., for CBI ingredients), as must any of 34 substances listed in the law if they are present at or above 100 parts per million, whether intentionally or not. Manufacturers’ websites also must contain additional information, for example Chemical Abstract Service numbers, the purpose of certain ingredients (e.g., fragrance, color, etc.), certain regulatory information, and links to safety data sheets.

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New York Disclosure Requirements

New York law has long empowered the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) to require manufacturers of household cleaning products to disclose certain information under the N.Y. Environmental Conservation Law section 35-0103. Until recently, DEC’s disclosure requirements were largely limited to phosphorous-containing ingredients and to other ingredients above 5% concentration. In 2017, DEC proposed expanded disclosure requirements and solicited stakeholder input on the proposal. Future reporting requirements, to be phased in starting this year, will significantly expand the scope of disclosures manufacturers must make.

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DEC originally announced the deadline for initial disclosures to be July 1, 2019. DEC recently announced, however, that it would not begin enforcing any violations until October 2, 2019, making the new de facto compliance deadline October 1, 2019. By that date, manufacturers of in-scope products should complete and submit DEC’s Certification form, as well as make the required disclosures on its website. The Certification Form must be re-submitted at a minimum every two years thereafter, and additionally when a triggering event occurs for example change in formulation or any important chance that was not referenced before.

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The first round of disclosure will require the identification of all intentionally added ingredients other than fragrance ingredients, as well as all nonfunctional ingredients present above trace quantities. The law allows manufacturers to assert CBI claims to protect the identity of certain chemicals.  Disclosure requirements for additional ingredients will be phased in on July 1, 2020 and January 1, 2023.

Manufacturers must also disclose additional information including the ingredients that are present on one or more lists of concerns such as certain substances regarded by the European Union (EU) as substances of very high concerns (SVHCs) regardless of whether the identity of the chemicals are withheld due to a CBI claim; whether ingredients are nano-scale materials; or the function of ingredients for example fragrance, color, and others.

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There are questions or the complexity of the these disclosures as stated above, the manufacturers should start collecting required information under the applicable  laws, rules, and regulations in compliance with the local, state, and federal laws.

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