Finding cleaning and other products that are safer for you, your family, and the environment should be easy — that’s why we developed our new Safer Choice label. We all play a role in protecting our families’ health and the environment. Products with the Safer Choice label help consumers and commercial buyers identify products with safer chemical ingredients, without sacrificing quality or performance.
More than 2,000 products currently qualify to carry the Safer Choice label. Safer Choice products are available for your home at retail stores and for use in facilities like schools, hotels, offices, and sports venues.
For the past 15 years EPA’s label for safer chemical products has been known as the Design for the Environment, or the “DfE,” label. We spent more than a year collecting ideas and discussing new label options with stakeholders, such as product manufacturers and environmental and health advocates. Then we took our ideas to consumers and asked what worked best for them. The result is the new Safer Choice label.
Safer Choice is EPA’s label for safer chemical-based products. Every chemical, regardless of percentage, in a Safer Choice-labeled product is evaluated through EPA’s rigorous scientific process and only the safest ingredients are allowed. For over 15 years, the program has labeled products that are safer for families, pets, workplaces, neighborhoods, and the environment. The label represents leadership in safer product formulation. Here are some of the reasons why:
• To be eligible for the label, a product must comply with the Safer Choice Standard, which has very stringent human health and environmental criteria. The Standard incorporates safer chemical criteria for individual component class ingredients, like surfactants, solvents and chelants.
• To help formulate safer products and to increase transparency and understanding of safer ingredients, Safer Choice developed the Safer Chemical Ingredients List, which contains over 750 chemicals that meet Safer Choice criteria.
• Safer Choice reviews all ingredients in a product—no exceptions, no de minimis—against safer ingredient pass/fail criteria and thresholds. Safer Choice-labeled products contain only the safest possible ingredients.
• In our product evaluation, we can and do go beyond prohibiting ingredients based on lists of chemicals of concern and apply analytical methods—developed here at EPA to compensate for a lack of toxicological data—to prevent the use of problematic chemicals that have not made it to a list.
• Executive Order 13693 directs Federal agencies to select Safer Choice-labeled products whenever possible. Safer Choice is also mandated by many state and municipal purchasers and is included in the LEED EB standard for maintenance in green buildings.
• We are a partnership program that harnesses the energy and creativity of product formulators, and especially small businesses, to innovate with products that work well and are safer for people and the planet.
• Safer Choice directs formulators to green chemistry alternatives before awarding the label and, under the terms of partnership, requires continuous product improvement to keep pace with innovation.
• Companies must make their formulary commitments in a signed written agreement with EPA, under which false statements constitute criminally punishable fraud. We also have an auditing program that includes annual audits to verify product ingredients.
• We require a first-of-its-kind ingredient disclosure for all products—either on the label or another easily accessible place—that will make the safer chemistry aspects of labeled products more visible.
• It is our sole mission to protect human health and the environment; we are sworn to fulfill that mission and uphold the public’s trust; and we are accountable to the American people.