Home Publisher's Point of View Clorox Facing Class Action Suit for Alleged False ‘Green’ Ingredient Claims

Clorox Facing Class Action Suit for Alleged False ‘Green’ Ingredient Claims

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Glenn Hasek

For years now I have been purchasing a product from the Green Works line of cleaning products made by the Clorox Co. At the top of the bottle it says, “original fresh”. Below “green works” on the main part of the label are the words “naturally derived”. The bottle is almost entirely green, includes a leaf at the top and the yellow petals of a flower at the bottom. Key to the product is that it “contains no bleach”. Have you tried this product at home or at your hotel?

In recent months Clorox Co. was hit by a consumer fraud class action lawsuit accusing the company of misleading consumers with its labeling and marketing of its “Green Works” brand of cleaning supplies. The lawsuit was initiated by two gentlemen—one is a resident of the state of California and the other is a resident of New York state. The gentlemen are seeking others to join the class action suit.

The class action lawsuit lists numerous Green Works cleaning products, including all-purpose cleaner, cleaning wipes, glass cleaner, dishwashing liquid, laundry detergent, and other household cleaning products that include the “naturally derived” or “green” language on the label.

Claim of at Least 20 Different Synthetic Ingredients

According to several articles about the case, the plaintiffs allege that the Clorox products boast at least 20 different synthetic ingredients. Some of the elements discovered to be in the products are: sodium lauryl sulfate, a known skin irritant toxic to marine life; boric acid and sodium borate, associated with problems affecting the reproductive system and developmental delays; D-Limonene, a known skin allergen toxic to marine life; and methylisothyazolinone, an environmental protection agency (EPA)-recognized pesticide highly toxic to freshwater and marine organisms—not the sort of ingredients one would associate with “natural” cleaning products. And, if you look at the ingredients list on the bottle, those mentioned above are not listed.

One article stated that the Green Works line generated $200 million in revenue for the Clorox Co. in its first year so a class action suit like this one could cost Clorox some serious coin.

This alleged case of greenwashing is one of several written about here in the past several years. The Federal Trade Commission is apparently not involved; a search of its website does not produce any related findings.

Assuming the two gentlemen are correct in their findings, this is certainly another lesson of let the buyer beware when it comes to “green” cleaning products.

On my Green Works bottle there is no label representing third-party certification—unlike cleaning products certified by reputable organizations such as Green Seal or UL’s ECOLOGO.

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