[Pharmwaste] S.C. Johnson,
maker of cleaners to scrub some chemicals from products
dldebiasi at deq.virginia.gov
Tue Mar 17 11:09:35 EDT 2009
Maker of cleaners to scrub some chemicals from products
By Liz Szabo, USA TODAY
S.C. Johnson announced Thursday that it's removing controversial
chemicals called phthalates from Windex, Shout, Pledge and its other
popular cleaning products, and will begin disclosing all ingredients on
The company plans to phase out phthalates, chemicals that interfere with
the hormone system and have been linked to genital abnormalities in
newborn boys, within two years, the company said in a statement.
The company believes that phthalates are safe, says chairman and chief
executive officer Fisk Johnson. But the company is removing the
chemicals because of consumer concerns, he said in a statement.
"Listening and responding to consumers is S.C. Johnson's top priority,"
Johnson said in the statement. "Making information about the ingredients
in our products readily accessible and easy to understand helps our
consumers know they can continue to trust our products."
Environmentalists and consumer health groups have strongly criticized
the makers of household cleaners for refusing to include a complete list
of ingredients on its labels, including dyes, preservatives and
fragrances. Only a handful of household cleaning brands, such as Seventh
Generation, list every ingredient.
By January 2012, S.C. Johnson will list its ingredients not only on
labels, but also on a company website, whatsinsidescjohnson.com, and
through a toll-free number, 1-800-558-5252.
Health and environmental advocates welcomed the change. Many health
advocates say the changes are especially significant given that S.C.
Johnson products are used in 99 million American homes.
Listing ingredients is especially important for people with allergies,
lung disease or families with small children, "whose growing lungs need
special protection," says Charles Connor, president and chief executive
officer of the American Lung Association.
The Natural Resources Defense Council says it hopes others in the
industry will follow S.C. Johnson's example.
"A trip to the drugstore or supermarket shouldn't turn into a guessing
game," said Frances Beinecke, president of the Natural Resources Defense
Council, in her blog today. "Their customers will now be able to make
In her blog, Beinecke noted that the defense council last year had to
take air fresheners to a lab for expensive tests to find out their
ingredients. The council found that many air fresheners have high levels
Beinecke notes that household cleaners may still contain harmful
ingredients. But listing ingredients and phasing out phthalates is "a
critical first step."
Environmentalists have won a number of key victories in the past year in
their fight to stop the use of controversial chemicals in consumer
Congress virtually banned lead and six phthalates in children's products
in a law that took effect in February.
The country's leading baby bottle manufacturers last week announced that
they will stop using an estrogen-like chemical called bisphenol A, or
BPA, in their plastic bottles. A large study in The Journal of the
American Medical Association in October linked BPA to heart disease and
diabetes, and animal studies have linked it to other health problems.
BETTER LIFE: Democrats take aim at common chemical BPA
Beinecke and others say these changes show that the marketplace is
listening to customers.
"People who buy S.C, Johnson products let the company know they were
concerned about ingredients," Beinecke says. "The company's response is
a testament to the power of consumers to make a difference."
Deborah L. DeBiasi
Email: dldebiasi at deq.virginia.gov
WEB site address: www.deq.virginia.gov
Virginia Department of Environmental Quality
Office of Water Permit Programs
Industrial Pretreatment/Toxics Management Program
PPCPs, EDCs, and Microconstituents
Mail: P.O. Box 1105, Richmond, VA 23218 (NEW!)
Location: 629 E. Main Street, Richmond, VA 23219
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