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Household Products To Get Ingredient Labeling

I spent the first weekend away from my sons ever at BlogHer ’09 in Chicago. And my favorite session—hands down—was the Green Bloggers session. (Why yes, it was nice to meet the writers I adore!)

There, while we discussed good resources for product ingredient lists and standards, an audience member dropped what sounded like a bomb to all of us in the natural parenting, green cleaning and organic living world:

On January 1, 2010, all household products will have full ingredient lists on their labeling.

How did this amazing change in chem-laden products come about? Blame Thank Canada.

Here are the deets on these requirements.

This is based on deals from Canadian companies, so it’s not binding, and not a new U.S. regulation. But you know what? BPA isn’t outlawed in the States. Yet somehow, the trickle-down from our Canuck neighbors has allowed us to buy safer gear.

Let’s hope that’s the case here, too.

Consumer Product Ingredient Communication Initiative

A group of product manufacturers has banded together, and this is what they came up with.

The new rules will apply to air care, automotive care, cleaning, and polishes and floor maintenance products. This is also completely voluntary, so companies can pat themselves on the back for their action.

But once these companies do it, we’ll have access for many companies, I hope. Here are their self-made standards:

  • All ingredients in these product categories will be listed, except incidental ingredients that have no technical or functional effect in the product.
  • Dyes, fragrances, and preservatives can be identified by class/function descriptors. For example, dyes, fragrances and preservatives may be identified as “dyes,” “fragrances,” or “preservatives.” Chemical function or chemical class descriptions can also be used where there is a need to protect confidential business information.
  • Ingredients present at concentrations greater than one percent will be listed in descending order by predominance. Ingredients present at concentrations of less than one percent will be listed without regard to the order of predominance.
  • Ingredients will be listed either on the product label, through the manufacturers’, distributors’, or importers’ website, through a toll-free telephone number, or through some other non-electronic means.
  • This is a voluntary program that will take effect in January 2010.

So yes, though this is no monumental change in any law, it is a start. Now [dust hands], let’s get ready for the greenwashing!

Image: rubberglovelover on Flickr under a Creative Commons License.

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