It took more than a decade, but California has a new law requiring extensive labeling of ingredients in cleaning products, and it got support from what might seem the unlikeliest of advocates: product manufacturers themselves. Companies like Procter & Gamble Co. and Easy-Off maker Reckitt Benckiser Group Plc, after years of arguing the need to preserve their proprietary formulas in detergents and oven cleaners, came to the table with lawmakers and health and environmental groups and ultimately signed on.
P&G, which makes Mr. Clean and Comet, and other manufacturers have also faced growing pressure from retailers to disclose — and in some cases, remove — ingredients. Merchants are responding to customers’ demands for transparency about chemicals like formaldehyde and phthalates. “The timing was right,” said Julie Froelicher, P&G’s North American regulatory and technical relations manager. A “growing chorus” of consumers want to know more about what’s in their products, she said.
But pushback is building, too. The Trump administration’s deregulation drive and a raft of disclosure measures in other states has prompted about 50 trade groups to lobby for a national labeling standard that would challenge rules like the new California law, Bloomberg reported last month. Opponents say such a move would weaken consumer protections. States have long set the pace for regulating consumer safety, with California leading the way.