BY Lori Popkewitz Alper ON April 8, 2016
Many of us are making a shift toward safer cleaning products, but figuring out which products are truly safer is sometimes a challenge. Store shelves are filled with an overwhelming number of cleaning product options, but unfortunately all products are not created equally. Many conventional products contain harmful chemicals that can lead to a variety of health concerns (Tweet this).
Our current law, which hasn’t been updated since 1976, is badly broken and doesn’t protect us. Companies don’t have to pass even a basic safety review before using chemicals in cleaning products. Consumers are left with no other option but to do our own research and educate ourselves after the products are already on the shelves in our stores.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is trying to help. They’ve created a labeling system to help guide consumers in making informed choices about the cleaning products they’re purchasing for their home. The new Safer Choice label is a tool, developed to help consumers, businesses, and purchasers to find products that perform well and are safer for our health and the environment.
Here’s How the Safer Choice Label Works
Companies that want their products to carry the Safer Choice label must submit their products to the EPA for review. The process is thorough and can take a few years to complete. To be eligible for the label, a product must meet the Safer Choice Standard, which means it can’t contain chemicals of concern including sensitizers, carcinogens, and environmentally toxic and persistent compounds.
When you see the Safer Choice label on a product it means that the Safer Choice scientific review team screened each ingredient for potential human health and environmental hazards and the product contains only those ingredients that pose the least concern among chemicals in their class.
Which Products Have the Safer Choice Label?
Right now the label can be found on 2,500 household cleaners and laundry detergents. Soon the Safer Choice label will expand to other types of cleaners, car and yard-care products, and do-it-yourself items like coatings and adhesives. The EPA created an interactive graphic to find Safer Choice products for your community. By clicking on the graphic you can find products for sports venues, schools, office buildings, and more.
What We Can Do
As consumers, the Safer Choice label is a helpful tool for finding safer products. It’s not perfect, but considering the current lack of regulation, it’s a step in the right direction. If consumers continue to demand safer products the hope is that other brands and retailers will realize the importance and necessity of meeting the Safer Product Standards.
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