SC Johnson Announces an End to Fragrance Secrecy
Makers of Glade become the first major consumer product company to list product-specific fragrance ingredients
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
October 9, 2014
SC Johnson (Glade, Windex, Pledge) announced today that it would begin disclosing product-specific fragrance ingredients in its cleaning and air-care products beginning in 2015, becoming the first major mainstream company to break the long-held secrecy around fragrance ingredients. Reckitt Benckiser (Airwick, Lysol) and Clorox announced they would begin disclosing fragrance allergens in their U.S. products earlier this year, but SC Johnson’s announcement of full disclosure is the first of its kind.
The company will disclose fragrance ingredients down to .09% for air care products like Glade, and for all other products will disclose fragrance above .09% or the top ten fragrance ingredients used.
“We’re proud to see SC Johnson truly embody their claims of honesty and transparency,” said Erin Switalski, executive director of Women’s Voices for the Earth (WVE), a women’s health organization that has been advocating for full ingredient disclosure in products since 2007. “SC Johnson’s historic announcement today means that consumers will finally have information they need to make safe and healthy decisions.”
SC Johnson’s move represents a major step in breaking the airtight secrecy companies have maintained around fragrance ingredients in consumer products. This announcement is likely to affect fragrance disclosure policies across industries, including cleaning products, personal care and salon products, and more.
Last year, WVE partnered with the advocacy group SumOfUs.org to deliver the cleaning product giant more than 51,000 signatures from consumers asking to know what ingredients make up the fragrances in the company’s scented products.
“We applaud SC Johnson for listening to its consumers and prioritizing their right to know what is in the products they’re using in their homes,” Switalski said.
By spring 2015, SC Johnson will begin to disclose product-specific fragrance ingredients in its air care products—including sprays, candles, oils and gels—initially in the U.S. and Canada, followed by Europe. Ingredients will be disclosed online at www.WhatsInsideSCJohnson.com. For those product categories outside of air care, such as home cleaning, SC Johnson has said it will list fragrance ingredients as the program expands, although the company hasn’t announced a timeline for this.
Chemicals of concern in fragrance are linked to allergies, cancer, birth defects, and infertility, yet companies across industries have historically maintained that these ingredients are trade secrets. The only ingredient information consumers usually see on a label is the word “fragrance” and any one fragrance can be a mixture of up to 100 different chemicals, out of more than 3,000 commonly used fragrance chemicals.
Since 2007, Women’s Voices for the Earth has run a sustained campaign to promote full ingredient disclosure in the cleaning products industry. In 2007, WVE released Household Hazards, a report identifying chemicals of concern listed on cleaning product safety data sheets—the only form of ingredient disclosure available to consumers at the time. The cleaning product industry responded by initiating a voluntary online ingredient disclosure program, which led to major manufacturers disclosing most cleaning product ingredients for the first time. In 2010, WVE released What’s That Smell?, a report examining the impact of undisclosed toxic chemicals in fragranced cleaning products on women’s health, including phthalates, synthetic musks, and allergens. Cleaning product manufacturers including SC Johnson, Clorox, and Procter & Gamble responded by publicly releasing fragrance ingredient palettes used to manufacture their scented products. In 2013, WVE released the report Secret Scents: How Hidden Fragrance Allergens Harm Public Health, which reported that tens of millions of people suffer from skin allergies associated with fragrance ingredients. Clorox and Reckitt Benckiser responded by committing to disclose fragrance allergens on a product-specific basis. SC Johnson is now the first mainstream cleaning product company to disclose all fragrance ingredients on a product-specific basis.
“We hope that other companies will follow SC Johnson’s lead,” Switalski said. “At this point, companies that don’t list all fragrance ingredients look like they have something to hide. Consumers have a right to know, and increasingly, they’re demanding that right.”
Cassidy Randall, Director of Outreach & Engagement
firstname.lastname@example.org, (406) 543-3747, office
Women’s Voices for the Earth amplifies women’s voices to eliminate toxic chemicals that harm our health and communities. With members across the United States and Canada, WVE changes corporate practices, holds government accountable, and works to ensure a toxic-free future for all. Learn more at womensvoices.org.