by Caroline Miller, CIH, CSP
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) Household Cleansing Product Information Disclosure Program has been overturned by the New York Supreme Court. The program would have been one of the first in the United States to require manufacturers to divulge chemicals in household cleansing products that may adversely affect human health or the environment. The Court decided that the NYSDEC did not follow regulatory procedures in compliance with the State Administrative Procedure Act (SAPA).
The lawsuit against the NYSDEC was filed by the American Cleaning Institute (ACI) and the Household & Commercial Products Association (HCPA) in October 2018. The lawsuit claimed that the NYSDEC exceeded its statutory authority under the New York State Environmental Conservation Law and did not complying with the SAPA.
The HCPA and the ACI represented the household and commercial products industry in filing the lawsuit against the NYSDEC on the Household Cleansing Product Information Disclosure Program. The Court has remitted the Program back to the NYSDEC, who can appeal the decision or follow procedures set by the SAPA.
Even though the HCPA and the ACI filed the lawsuit, the associations support providing extensive information on ingredients in products in the household and commercial products industry . They have been working with New York to address concerns and provide a resolution that aligns programs in other states, such as California.
Affected products under the Program would have been “soaps and detergents containing a surfactant as a wetting or dirt emulsifying agent and used primarily for domestic or commercial cleaning purposes, including but not limited to the cleansing of fabrics, dishes, food utensils and household and commercial premises.”
Products that would have been excluded from the Program are “foods, drugs and cosmetics, including personal care items such as toothpaste, shampoo and hand soap”; “products labeled, advertised, marketed and distributed for use primarily as pesticides, as defined in Article 33 of the Environmental Conservation Law”; or “cleansing products used primarily in industrial manufacturing, production and assembling processes.”
Commercial locations defined as, “premises used for the purpose of carrying on or exercising any trade, business, profession, vocation, or commercial or charitable activity, including but not limited to laundries, hospitals, and food or restaurant establishments”, would have been included in the Program.
Under the Program, a Cleansing Product Information Disclosure Form would have been submitted to the NYSDEC by manufacturers for all “domestic and commercial cleaning products distributed, sold, or offered for sale in New York State.” Products would have been listed and certified by senior management official on the disclosure form.
In addition to the disclosure form, the Program published a Guidance Document to assist manufacturers, on the strict guidelines of the program. The Guidance Document provided information on how the manufactures would have had to provide information to the consumers, if the program had not been overturned. The Guidance Document provided manufactures instructions on how similar products would have been handled, as well. The Guidance Document also included a list of “Chemicals of Concern” in which ingredients included on the list would have been required to be disclosed and could not be claimed as confidential business information (CBI).
HCPA and ACI Joint Press Release: “Judge Invalidates NYSDEC Household Cleansing Product Information Disclosure Program:”
NYSDEC Household Cleansing Product Information Disclosure Program:
New York State, DEC, household cleansers, ingredient disclosure
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