From the New York Times – Fight Grows Over Labels on Household Cleaners :

Manufacturers of detergents, household cleansers and furniture polish, like Procter and Gamble, Colgate-Palmolive and others, are facing questions from consumers about the chemicals in their products. While many of the chemicals are present only in small amounts, some have been associated with asthma, birth defects and fertility problems in higher doses. And even if the amounts are low, consumer groups say, what is the effect of using these products over a lifetime?

Procter & Gamble, Colgate-Palmolive and other major companies have been sued in New York State by consumer groups seeking fuller disclosure. A measure has been introduced in Congress to require ingredient disclosure on all product labels. And in California, which has led the nation in passing “green chemistry” laws, an influential Democrat, State Senator Joe Simitian, said he would press for mandatory disclosure if the voluntary effort came up short.

There are still points of contention. The voluntary industry plan covers four product categories — air fresheners, automotive care, household cleaners and floor polishes. It would require that all ingredients be listed in descending order of concentration, but amounts of less than 1 percent would not have to be ranked. Preservatives, fragrances and dyes — crucial ingredients that differentiate products but can contain potentially hazardous chemicals — are exempt from disclosure plan.

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