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Updates on New York’s Proposed Consumer Product Labeling Requirements

Monday, September 23, 2019
Claire Mathis

Claire Mathis

Senior Associate Health Scientist, Cardno ChemRisk

Allison Killius

Associate Health Scientist II, Cardno ChemRisk

On August 27, the New York Supreme Court struck down the New York Household Cleansing Product Information Disclosure Program (HCPDIP), which requires manufacturers to list chemical ingredients of concern on their website. The court struck down the HCPDIP on the basis that the New York Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) did not follow proper procedures under the State Administrative Procedures Act (SAPA). The court stated that though the department issued it as a "guidance," it was in fact a binding rule and did not follow the proper procedures in creating a formal law. The HCPDIP was declared "null and void" and remitted back to the DEC for compliance with the SAPA. In light of the court’s ruling, cleaning product manufacturers no longer have to comply with listing requirements by January 2020.

In addition to cleaning products, New York is attempting to regulate the disclosure of ingredients in other consumer products as well. In January, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo proposed the Consumer Right to Know Act, which would require the evaluation and potential development of on-package labeling for personal care products containing potentially hazardous chemicals. The proposal included creating a list of more than “1,000 carcinogens” and other chemicals for which labeling on personal care products may be required, as well as determining the labeling feasibility and the products to be targeted. The proposed legislation is comparable to California’s Proposition 65 (Prop 65), under which companies that sell products in California are required to place warning labels on their products, if such products expose users to certain levels of a chemical(s) “known to the state” to cause cancer or reproductive harm.

However, the proposed Consumer Right to Know Act, which has not yet been formalized into legislation, was seemingly an extension of the HCPDIP. Jeopardizing it even further, one report indicated that New York state legislators have denied 2020 funding to further develop the Consumer Right to Know Act. Based on the ruling of the HCPDIP and the lack of 2020 funding, it appears as though the Consumer Right to Know Act will not be written into law in the near future.

The process of development, implementation, and enforcement of consumer product disclosures and legislation is complex. There are many stakeholders involved, all of which need to work together in the legislative process in order to achieve success in curbing consumers’ exposures to harmful chemicals without imposing unnecessary burdens on manufacturers. Further updates will be provided as progress is made toward the enactment of these new laws.

Earlier versions of this blog appeared on The Cardno ChemRisk View.