Earthjustice is taking Proctor & Gamble, Colgate-Palmolive, and other household cleaner manufacturing giants to court for refusing to follow a New York state law requiring them to disclose the chemical ingredients in their products and the health risks they pose.
The first-of-its-kind case could have national implications. Independent studies into chemicals contained in cleaning products continue to find health effects ranging from nerve damage to hormone disruption. But ingredient disclosure requirements are virtually non-existent in the United States.
The exception is this long-forgotten New York state law which requires household cleaner companies selling their products in New York to file semi-annual reports with the state listing the chemicals contained in their products and describing any company research on these chemicals' health and environmental effects.
But in the three decades since the 1976 law was passed, companies failed to file a single report. In the fall of 2008, Earthjustice sent letters to more than a dozen companies asking them to comply with the law. The companies targeted in this lawsuit -- Proctor & Gamble, Colgate-Palmolive, Church and Dwight and Reckitt-Benckiser -- each ignored or refused this request.