NEW YORK – Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the launch of a new initiative to require all manufacturers of household cleaning products sold in New York to disclose chemical ingredients on their websites. New York is the first state in the nation to require manufacturers to disclose ingredients in household cleaning products, which may contain chemicals with negative health impacts for humans and the environment. Additionally, the state Department of Environmental Conservation has proposed new restrictions that would reduce the amount of perchloroethylene, a chemical that is a likely human carcinogen and is widely used in dry-cleaning, and other potentially dangerous dry cleaning solvents that are released into the environment. The announcements coincide with Earth Week, a weeklong celebration of New York’s commitment and accomplishments to protect our environment.
“These new regulations will help protect New Yorkers and give them the peace of mind of knowing what’s in their homes and in their communities,” Governor Cuomo said. “These actions continues this state’s legacy of environmental stewardship and will help build a cleaner, greener New York for all.”
The Household Cleaning Product Information Disclosure Program, overseen by DEC, was announced during the Governor’s 2017 State of the State address. Under the program, manufacturers must identify all of the ingredients and impurities in their products, including those that are chemicals of concern, as well as their content by weight in ranges.
In addition to this information appearing on company websites, New York will work with the Interstate Chemicals Clearinghouse to develop and maintain a database of links to company information. The draft 2017 Household Cleansing Product Information Disclosure Certification Form that manufacturers are required to complete and file is now available for public review and comment.
The Governor also announced new regulations to reduce the release of perchloroethylene, or “perc,” and/or alternative solvents used by dry cleaners into the environment, and align state and federal regulations. The National Academy of Sciences identifies perc a “likely human carcinogen.”
DEC is proposing to update state’s current “Perchloroethylene Dry Cleaning Facilities” regulation for facilities that operate perc and/or alternative solvent dry cleaning machines, and reduce the amount of perc and other dry cleaning solvents released into the environment. Alternative solvent dry cleaning machines were previously regulated separately.
DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos said, “Protecting the public and the environment from chemical contamination is the state’s top priority and Governor Cuomo is continuing to lead the nation by establishing these strong new regulations. By requiring the disclosure of chemical ingredients in household cleaning products and restricting the release of perc and other dry cleaning solvents into the environment, these programs will reduce contamination and human exposure to these chemicals of concern, and we strongly urge all companies to comply with these new programs.”
New York State Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker said, “Common household cleaners may contain chemicals shown to negatively impact health, and Governor Cuomo’s landmark new regulation ensures there is no guessing game about the chemicals hiding on store shelves. This new regulation will give New York consumers the tools they need to make informed choices for themselves and for their families, and limit unknown exposure to potentially harmful chemicals.”
Major changes to the dry cleaning industry have taken place since DEC’s dry cleaning regulation went into effect in 1997. As a result, many of the requirements on the books have become outdated and are in need of revision. This rulemaking will revise the existing regulation and add new components to improve compliance and program delivery; reduce perc and alternative solvent emissions to the environment; address advancements in technology and changes in the industry regarding the use of alternative dry cleaning solvents; and bring New York’s regulation up to date with current federal requirements. This proposal applies to any entity that operates, or proposes to operate, approved alternate solvent or perc dry cleaning machines.
Seven general categories of information are required to be disclosed under the Housing Cleansing Product Information Disclosure program, including a product’s name, the level of information being disclosed about the product, the chemical ingredients in the product, and whether any ingredient appears on lists of chemicals of concern. In cases where information is withheld as confidential business information, the nature of the information being withheld must be disclosed, but such information shall not be submitted to DEC.
Copies of the Draft 2017 Household Cleaning Product Information Disclosure Certification Form are available on DEC’s website at http://www.dec.ny.gov/chemical/109021.html. Copies of the form can also be obtained by contacting DEC – Executive, by mail at 625 Broadway, 14th Floor, Albany, NY 12233-1010, or by phone at: (518) 402-9401. Public comment on the form will be accepted through June 14, 2017, and should be mailed to Elizabeth Meer at the above address, or e-mailed to email@example.com.
New York’s ingredient disclosure approach will serve as a pilot for potential expansion to other consumer products of concern, such as personal care or children’s products. The pilot will evaluate such factors as ease of consumer use, consumer education regarding chemicals and health risks, and manufacturer compliance and enforcement.