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Responding to Consumer Pressure, Clorox Lists All Ingredients

Fragrance list reveals toxic musks still present.

For Immediate Release:
Feb. 8, 2011

Erin Switalski, 406-543-3747, erins@womensvoices.org
Sian Wu, 206-374-7795 x102, sian@resource-media.org

OAKLAND, Calif. – Clorox Co. has become the first mainstream cleaning product company to disclose all ingredients in its cleaning products, including dyes and preservatives, as well as a collective list of fragrance ingredients through its website, www.cloroxCSR.com. The announcement is welcome news to consumer and health advocates who have been promoting transparency and safety of chemical ingredients in cleaning products for years.

Women’s Voices for the Earth (WVE) is a national women’s environmental health group that has been urging the company to provide safe and transparent products since 2007. The organization contends that consumers have a right to know about product ingredients, and has cited health concerns with some ingredients commonly found in cleaning products. While WVE is pleased with the news, they say there’s still a long way to go.

“Clorox’s actions go far beyond what’s currently required by law or industry standards for ingredient disclosure, and has paved the way for other companies to follow suit,” said Erin Switalski, WVE Executive Director. “We would love to see safe cleaning be easier for the consumer, and to do that, consumers need to see the whole picture.” Clorox’s master list of fragrance ingredients does not associate those ingredients with products; instead, they provide a master list of all fragrance chemicals used in all Clorox products.

Two ingredients that appeared on the master fragrance list include the polycyclic musks galaxolide and tonalide, although Clorox reported last year their plan to remove these. As WVE detailed in their 2010 report What’s That Smell?, polycyclic musks are linked to hormone disruption, increased risk of breast cancer, and can break down the body’s defenses against other toxic exposures. Research has shown that these chemicals accumulate in people’s bodies, and have been found in blood and breast milk.

In February 2010, Clorox announced the prohibition of polycyclic musks in its fragrances. Yet, the master list of Clorox fragrance ingredients released yesterday shows that Clorox fell through on that commitment. Polycyclic musks have also been removed from Clorox’s prohibited chemicals list.

“Clorox prides itself on being a company that consumers trust. I think they can instill that trust by standing by their commitment to remove toxic musks from their products,” said Switalski. “This demonstrates why all companies should adopt full labeling, so that consumers know what chemicals they’re being exposed to.”

Federal legislation has been introduced to address the lack of transparency in cleaning product ingredients. In 2009, Senator Franken (MN) and Representative Israel (NY) introduced the Household Products Labeling Act, which would require cleaning products to bear a label with the full list of ingredients. The bill is expected to be reintroduced later this year. Full labeling is already standard practice in the food and personal care products industries.

For more information, go to womensvoices.org/clorox.

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