SC Johnson, the corporate dynasty behind such well-known brands as Shout, Windex, and Ziploc, has done something a bit radical: it has set up a website called What's Inside that lists the ingredients, and the purpose of said ingredients, in its home-cleaning and air-freshening products.
According to GreenBiz.com, the site came about after cleaning-industry companies came up with a voluntary initiative in late 2008 to disclose their ingredients via websites, toll-free numbers, and labels. Currently there is no legal requirement for products to list ingredients that may cause harm over time, only immediately hazardous ones, so it's kind of a big deal.
But only kind of, because What's Inside doesn't tell you what's inside preservatives and fragrances. Indeed, a quick glance at the Glade products in the "Air Care" section (a term that makes me chuckle—let's care for the air by spraying stuff into it!) revealed a message that "Fragrance information will be added soon." According to the GreenBiz.com story, "soon" is about two years from now.
The lack of labeling requirements could change if legislation introduced by Sen. Al Franken becomes law. The Household Product Labeling Act would require household cleaning products "and similar products" to completely and accurately state on their labels all of their ingredients. I don't know what the chances are of such a bill actually passing—big corporations generally wail, "But we'll go out of business if we have to share our proprietary secrets!" and then the case is closed—but if mainstream giants like SC Johnson are voluntarily listing ingredients (albeit sluggishly for some important ones) and not going out of business, that's a major positive step.