Household Products Need Ingredients Listed On Labels


Lurking under our bathroom and kitchen sinks are harmful chemicals. “Many chemicals contained in household products have been shown to produce harmful health effects,” Senator Al Franken said in his introduction of the Household Products Labeling Act.

The current law requires that product labels only list “immediately hazardous ingredients,” but do not require labeling for ingredients that may be harmful over time. The bill Franken introduced into the Senate this summer would require manufacturers to list ingredients in household cleaners and other common products. The ingredients required to be listed include fragrances, dyes, and preservatives.

Method has a new advertising campaign, People Against Dirty, which asks people to write to their lawmakers supporting the bill.

The products covered by the bill are the following:

  • Household cleaning products
  • Air fresheners and deodorizers
  • Floor and furniture polish
  • Dishwashing soap
  • Drain cleaners
  • Laundry detergent and dryer sheets
  • Epoxies
  • Paints or stains

Representative Steve Israel introduced the same bill into the House last summer. In a statement, Israel said:

Like big tobacco, the big chemical industry in American has gotten away with too much for too long. They’ve deprived us of basic information about the chemicals being used in our homes and workplaces, some of which are downright dangerous. The people who are the most at risk are the ones who spend all day with these chemicals at work and we can’t let big chemical take advantage of them anymore.

SEIU Secretary-Treasurer Anna Burger said the bill will “finally give both parents and professionals the chance to know a complete and accurate list of the product’s ingredients and any potential health impact keeping clean keeps us healthy. It should enjoy broad bipartisan support.”

The bill is supported by labor unions, environmental groups and other non profits, as well as by  Method, and Seventh Generation–makers of cleaning products.

Gina-Marie Cheeseman

Gina-Marie is a freelance writer and journalist armed with a degree in journalism, and a passion for social justice, including the environment and sustainability. She writes for various websites, and has made the 75+ Environmentalists to Follow list by

7 responses

  1. Not only should ingredients be listed, but we need more testing to better understand the effects of the chemicals used. Even in personal care products, where we’re putting products directly on our skin, 80% of ingredients haven’t been tested for safety.

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