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November 4, 2019

Two-Month Warning: California Cleaning Product Right to Know Act


Two months remain until manufacturers must comply with the online ingredient disclosure requirements of the California Cleaning Product Right to Know Act (the Act). Signed into law in 2017 as Senate Bill 258, and never challenged in court, the Act is the latest "right to know" statute to take effect in California. With a trial court having invalidated New York's Household Cleansing Product Information Disclosure Program in August 2019, California's Act is the only state cleaning product disclosure law in the country. Although the Act applies only to products sold in California, few manufacturers are believed to have the ability to segregate their distribution of products between California and the rest of the country. As a result, the Act will result in ingredient disclosures being made to consumers nationwide.

The Act applies to a wide assortment of cleaning products. In addition to "general cleaning products"—defined to include soap and detergents for fabrics and dishes, and disinfectants for floors, countertops and bathrooms—the Act's disclosure requirements also apply to air care products, automotive products, and polish or floor maintenance products. The Act's dual-faceted ingredient disclosure requirements will be implemented in two stages. Although manufacturers do not need to make on-label product disclosures until January 1, 2021, manufacturers must update their websites to comply with the Act's online disclosure requirements by January 1, 2020. The online disclosure deadline is now less than two months away.

The Act's online disclosure requirements require that manufacturers provide consumers with a variety of information for designated products, including, among other information, a list of "intentionally added ingredients," a list of all "nonfunctional constituents" present at a concentration above 0.01 percent, and hyperlinks to government information websites for chemicals on an array of designated lists. Violations of the Act could be prosecuted by the California Attorney General, district attorneys, or city attorneys or prosecutors under California's Unfair Competition Law (UCL), which provides for monetary penalties of up to $2,500 per violation. Violations of the Act could also be pursued by private enforcers, who can seek injunctive relief and restitution under the UCL, as well as attorney's fees under California's private attorney general statute.

Since it was introduced as Senate Bill 258, Arnold & Porter has lobbied on the Act and has advised clients on complying with the Act's disclosure requirements. If you have questions about the Act or need assistance before the January 1, 2020 online disclosure deadline, we would be delighted to help.

© Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer LLP 2019 All Rights Reserved. This Advisory is intended to be a general summary of the law and does not constitute legal advice. You should consult with counsel to determine applicable legal requirements in a specific fact situation.