Friday, June 24, 2011

M Sales News ingredient disclosure edited

This is an article posted in Sanitation Maintenance News. It makes you think who really requires more protection. The End user knowing everything that is in a given product or the protection of the company who has trade secrets.

On September 23, 2009, Senator Al Franken introduced a bill in Congress,
the Household Product Labeling and Disclosure Act, which would have
required manufacturers of household cleaning products to list all the
key ingredients in their cleaning products. The same day, the bill was
forwarded to a committee for review and that was the last day anyone
heard of it.

Senator Franken was proposing what is referred to as “full ingredient
disclosure.” Typically, this includes a listing of all the “intentionally added”
ingredients in a product to be posted on the product’s label. Some
ingredients in cleaning chemicals are known as “incidental ingredients.”
They serve no specific function and often disappear in the manufacturing
process. These ingredients would not have to be listed in accordance with
the Act.

You might think that this was the end of the ingredient disclosure concept.
However, interestingly enough, at least in the household cleaning market,
just the opposite appears to be evolving. Pressure from manufacturers
of environmentally friendly cleaning products for the home has resulted
in some major players—namely Clorox Co. and SC Johnson—to disclose
more information on product labels about what is in their household
cleaning chemicals.

Now, both companies appear to be “one-upping” each other, launching
marketing campaigns on television and social media sites and disclosing
the key ingredients for a variety of their household products. Apparently,
these companies view ingredient disclosure and the transparency that
results as not only a wave of the future and important for consumer
confidence, but as a marketing tool as well.

Should jansan manufacturers and distributors also view ingredient
disclosure as necessary, a future trend, and even a marketing tool? The
answers: they should; they likely will; and it will be good for our industry
and an effective marketing tool.

Why Full Ingredient Disclosure Is Necessary

When the issue of ingredient disclosure is discussed, some jansan
manufacturers and distributors say it is not necessary because most of this
information is already available on Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDSs).
Although some of a product’s ingredients are listed on the MSDS, it is
typically only hazardous ingredients that are found on a list (which does
not include all) and are in the formula above 1%, and ingredients that are
considered carcinogens, mutagens and teratagens over 0.1% —this is
not full ingredient disclosure. For example, some may have a number
of hazardous ingredients that make up a high percentage of the formula,
but if all are below the required 1% and the 0.1% thresholds, they need
not be included. Also, while guidelines are given, there is no necessary
auditing required so some MSDSs are found not to be very accurate (either
intentionally or not).

Possibly the best way to describe the need for full ingredient disclosure
is to the following scenario. A school decided to use only proven-Green
cleaning products. After evaluating various products, the school’s officials
found two that they believed would be the most cost and performance
effective. However, one of the products contained an ingredient that, while
environmentally and human health preferable, could potentially trigger
respiratory problems in small children. The other product did not contain
this ingredient. Knowing this, and as a result of full ingredient disclosure,
the school selected the product without the ingredient in question.

This is just one example and there are others. In plain and simple terms,
it helps the end customer make a wiser buying decision, especially in
sensitive environments such as schools, medical centers, nursing homes,

What’s Holding Things Up?

One concern some manufacturers have about full ingredient disclosure is
that it opens the door for competitors to see exactly what is in the products
they produce. The manufacturer may have spent considerable time and
money developing the product and understandably, the last thing it wants is

for a competitor to inexpensively replicate the product a few weeks later.

Well aware of this problem, the Consumer Specialty Products Association
(CSPA), which advocates ingredient disclosure information, suggests
an ingredient disclosure format that lets consumers and end-customers
know what is in a product, while also protecting the trade secrets of the
manufacturer. For instance, it proposes the following guidelines for
determining whether an ingredient(s) is proprietary:

• The extent to which the identity of the ingredient is known outside the
manufacturer’s business
• The extent to which the identity of the ingredient is known by
employees and others involved in the manufacturer’s business
• The extent of measures taken by the manufacturer to guard the
secrecy of the information
• The value of the information about the identity of the claimed trade
secret ingredient to the manufacturer and to its competitors
• The amount of resources expended by the manufacturer in
developing products that contain safe and effective ingredients

• The ease or difficulty with which the identity of the ingredient could be
properly acquired or duplicated by others.

Further, acknowledging that in some cases the release of product
information might harm a company’s competitive position, the CSPA
suggests “functional descriptors” can be substituted. These describe the
purpose and function of the ingredient without actually identifying it. Please
do note, our company has been giving full ingredient disclosure for close to
20 years, and we have been using a 16 part MSDS. We do not accept the
argument of competitive protection. There are ways to breakdown/reverse
engineer a competitors’ product. Just because a group of people have the
list of ingredients to a cake, does it mean all will bake the cake the same
and or deliver the same quality and tasting cake?

Where We Go From Here

What I find most interesting about the bill introduced to Congress that
would mandate ingredient disclosure is that the government did not need

to mandate these policies. Segments of the household and professional
cleaning industries are voluntarily stepping up to the plate and adopting full
ingredient disclosure policies.

Most likely, as manufacturers start to endorse this concept, including those
in the professional cleaning industry, more will follow. This is an example
of private industry working at its best. A positive outcome will only help
end-customers and further professionalize our industry.