California Law Means Cleaning Products Get a Whole Lot Cleaner

A new California law means roughly 200,000 cleaning products will get a lot cleaner, potentially reducing smog in the state.

Roughly 200,000 cleaning products are expected to get a lot cleaner, with the passage of a new law in California on Thursday. Companies producing products such as cleaning sprays, solutions, polishes, and degreasers will have to alter their formulas if they have volatile organic compounds (known as VOCs), which contribute greatly to smog formation.

The law will be phased in over the next three years and company representatives have agreed to reformulate their products, though they say it will a costly and difficult task to achieve.

Scientific American reports that:

Most of the cleaning products already have faced two other rounds of regulation from the California air board over the past 20 years. The earlier rules already have eliminated nearly half of the VOC emissions from California’s consumer products. But they still emit 245 tons per day, or 12 percent of all the VOCs in the state’s air.

California, along with many other states, faces a federal mandate to reduce ozone, the main ingredient of smog, which aggravates asthma, reduces lung function and has other serious health effects.


The expected end result? A reduction of 7 million tons per day, which is the equivalent of taking 500,000 cars off California's already congested highways.

Photo (cc) by Flickr user KOMUnews.