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New Report Ranks Cleaning Products Industry’s Commitment to Chemical Safety

New Report Ranks Cleaning Products Industry’s Commitment to Safety


November 12, 2019 — A new report released by national environmental health non-profit, Women’s Voices for the Earth (WVE), outlines the progress and failures that leading cleaning products manufacturers are making in regards to the strength and transparency of their chemicals safety screening.

Every company claims that their products are safe and that they have policies and processes to assure that safety. But unfortunately the majority of companies are not transparent about the specifics of those policies and processes,” said Alexandra Scranton, Director of Science and Research at WVE. “This makes it hard for people to distinguish between those companies taking it easy, and those truly working hard to ensure harmful ingredients are not ending in the products on our shelves.”

To address this issue, in 2017 WVE released their Health First Roadmap  — a dynamic tool which provides specific guidance to cleaning products manufacturers on how to choose safer ingredients and ensure the chemical safety of their products. The Roadmap outlines key benchmarks and strategies from simple compliance, to the aspirational high road of a “Health First” chemical safety program.

The Roadmap clearly lays out what we expect — what the public expects — an effective screening process to look like,” said Scranton. “This is our first assessment of exactly where the cleaning product industry is moving — or stalling — in their commitment to, and actions on, safer ingredients.”

While critically important to public health, chemicals management has not yet reached the same level of corporate awareness as other critical issues such as carbon emissions or energy conservation; sustainability rankings often account for impacts on climate, deforestation, and water conservation, but almost never take into account — or publicly report — the health and environmental impacts of the toxicity of ingredients. This makes the Health First Roadmap particularly unique and a necessary tool for companies to use to assess the impacts of the chemicals they use in their products.

WVE 2019 Health First assessment ranks and reviews the following cleaning products manufacturers:

  • The Clorox Company: Clorox, Pine-Sol, S.O.S., Tilex, Liquid-Plumber, GreenWorks
  • Procter & Gamble: Tide, Cascade, Dawn, Mr. Clean, Dreft Laundry, Febreze, Gain, Cheer
  • RB (formerly Reckitt Benckiser): Woolite, Lysol, Finish, AirWick, Old English
  • SC Johnson & Son, Inc.: Pledge, Shout, Windex, Glade, Scrubbing Bubbles
  • Seventh Generation
  • Meliora Cleaning Products

Little regulation exists in the U.S. to limit or control the use toxic chemicals in cleaning products. Until federal and state regulations set safety and transparency standards, it’s up to companies to set their own safety standards for products.

“Unfortunately, external oversight of chemical screening processes is virtually nonexistent, and there’s an overwhelming absence of industry standards. This report makes that painfully clear,” said Scranton. “The good news there are companies that are responding to public demands and recognizing that being in compliance with current laws and regulations is not enough to ensure safety.”

Since WVE launched their Safe Cleaning Products Initiative in 2007, they have taken aim at product safety, ingredient disclosure and eliminating toxic chemicals from cleaning products. This 2019 ranking shows that many manufacturers are responding to public demands and have made considerable strides towards removing certain toxic chemicals from their products and in publicly disclosing product ingredients on their websites.

“The public is not content to take marketing rhetoric at face value. They want to know, for example, how ingredients like quats linked to respiratory and reproductive harm pass Clorox’s safety screening,” said Amber Garcia, WVE’s Executive Director. “Assuring the public that products are ‘safe to use’ rings hollow if companies don’t also explain what they mean by ‘safe’. We need clear insight into how a company determines whether or not a chemical is safe to use in their products.”

The principles of the Health First Roadmap are endorsed by a number of leading health, environmental and sustainable business organizations from across the nation.

“Health First is a resource for the public, and guidance for companies to use to establish strong and transparent processes for assessing ingredient safety,” said Garcia. “How successful they are in following this framework is crucial to truly gaining the trust and loyalty of the people who buy their products.”

See report: https://womensvoices.org/health-first-2019-company-report/


Media Contacts:

Beth Conway, bethc@womensvoices.org, (406) 543-3747, office
Alexandra Scranton, alexs@womensvoices.org, (406) 543-3747, office

Women’s Voices for the Earth amplifies women’s voices to eliminate the toxic chemicals that harm our health and communities. Learn more at https://womensvoices.org

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