Windex, Glade, Pledge to Be Labeled with Ingredient Lists
SC Johnson, maker of popular cleaning products like Pledge, Windex and Fantastik, announced last Thursday that it will begin including ingredient lists on its products sometime this year. The company also launched a new website, which provides consumers with more detailed product information—including ingredients and a fragrance disclosure—at whatsinsidescjohnson.com.
“We want all of our ingredients to be transparent, so consumers can make their own, informed choices on what to purchase,” said Fisk Johnson, Chairman and CEO of SC Johnson in a press release. “We also want to earn the trust and confidence every day of the people that buy our products because we work hard on our ingredient choices and strive to continually improve our products.”
SC Johnson is the first major cleaning-product company to voluntarily disclose ingredients right on product packaging. In November, Rep. Steve Israel, a democratic congressman from New York, introduced legislation that would require ingredient labeling on cleaning products. Israel cited a watchdog-group study, which found that many cleaners contain toxins, carcinogens and allergens, including ones that have been linked to asthma and cancer. The legislation is currently sitting in the House Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade.
From a press statement:
Rep. Israel’s legislation would require full ingredient labeling on a product or its packaging. Manufacturers would also be required to provide an online list of each product’s ingredients. Products covered by the legislation include, but are not limited to: air care products, automotive products, polishes or floor maintenance products, and disinfectants.
Whether or not consumers will understand what the ingredients actually are when they see them remains to be seen. Although SC Johnson will be using International Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredients names (INCI), “a naming system used by the personal care products industry that is recognizable and familiar to many consumers,” I’m still not sure I’d know what pentasodium pentetate is or that phenoxyethanol, a product “solubilizer,” is a mild lung irritant (possibly important for us asthma-stricken folks).
Still, I appreciate the effort. Maybe with time, the chemical compounds will become more easily identifiable. And SC Johnson, at least, appears to be ahead of the curve.