Smoke & Mirrors? Is this recent announcement from SCJ a distraction to push a new product or an honest example of their commitment to transparency?
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 2.12.2016 — SC Johnson (Pledge, Shout, Windex, Glade) announced this week it is disclosing all fragrance ingredients – down to the component level — in a new 3-product collection, the Glade® Fresh Citrus Blossoms. As the national leader in advocating for ingredient disclosure in cleaning products, national women’s health non-profit, Women’s Voices for the Earth (WVE), raises questions about inconsistencies in SC Johnson’s commitment to transparency.
WVE is concerned that SCJ is limiting full fragrance disclosure to a single line of new products, without any mention of extending this policy company-wide to its established and most popular product lines. “This isn’t the tipping point, but it is progress,” said Erin Switalski, WVE’s Executive Director. “This is the level of disclosure SCJ should be providing for all its products. What’s more, this announcement proves that this level of transparency is possible.”
SCJ’s announcement also comes just two weeks after the bill AB 708 failed to pass the California Assembly. The bill, titled The Right to Know Act, requires all cleaning product manufacturers to disclose ingredients used in their products, including all fragrance components. SC Johnson opposed the bill.
“Over 80% of consumers express the desire for full ingredient disclosure, so although AB 708 didn’t pass we know it’s only a matter of time before companies are required to give consumers this information,” said Jamie McConnell, Director of Programs and Policy at WVE, an organization that has been advocating for 100% ingredient transparency in products since 2007.
Since 2009, SC Johnson has made some major advances in ingredient transparency. Most notably, in 2014 the company announced it will disclose fragrance ingredients down to .09% of product concentration or the top ten fragrance ingredients used, starting with air care products like Glade. This new Glade product collection carries the unique distinction of 100% fragrance ingredient disclosure.
“We are encouraged that SCJ continues to take additional steps toward full ingredient disclosure,” said Switalski. “But inconsistencies between their actions and rhetoric have us questioning: is this announcement a distraction to push a new product or an honest example of their commitment to transparency?”
SC Johnson’s commitment to transparency is also called into question when it continues to keep their criteria for chemical safety screening a secret from consumers. “SCJ often holds up their GreenlistTM screening process as evidence of product safety, but the company does not reveal to the public the actual standards it uses to assess safety.” said Switalski “Assuring customers that products are ‘safe to use’ will ring hollow if companies don’t also explain what they mean by ‘safe’.”
SC Johnson is also one of the only major cleaning product companies still using hormone disrupting synthetic musks, raising concerns about the integrity of their screening process.
“Consumers are mindful of the smoke-and-mirrors,” said Switalski, “and they’re tired of it. They don’t want to deal with the hassle of remembering which brand, of which product, of which company, provides access to the information they need to find safer products. And they shouldn’t have to. Consumers have the right to know what’s in all the products they bring into their homes. It’s that simple.”
About Women’s Voices for the Earth
Since 2007, Women’s Voices for the Earth has run a sustained campaign to promote full ingredient disclosure in the cleaning products industry. Their fragrance campaign work includes reports Secret Scents and What’s That Smell? and, most recently, Unpacking the Fragrance Industry: Policy Failures, the Trade Secret Myth and Public Health, an investigative report calling attention to the failures of the industry’s self-regulating safety policy.
Founded in 1995, Women’s Voices for the Earth amplifies women’s voices to eliminate the toxic chemicals that harm our health and communities. With thousands of members across the United States, WVE changes corporate practices, holds government accountable, and works to ensure a toxic-free future for all. www.womensvoices.org.
Jamie McConnell, Director of Programs and Policy
Beth Conway, Communications Director