Thursday, August 21, 2014

Tackling Toxics: Searching for safer products?

The EPA can help

By Andrew Wineke, communications, Hazardous Waste & Toxics Reduction

One of the simplest things we can do to protect the environment, both at home and at our workplaces, is to use safer chemicals in our cleaning supplies and other household products.

But how do you know what “safer” is? Do you look for “natural” on the label? Should it say “eco” in the name? There are more than 300 different “green” certifications. Which one should you trust?

If you really want to pick the safest products possible, a great place to start is the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Design for the Environment program.

Design for the Environment is a voluntary product labeling program that works with manufacturers to determine that the chemicals used in a product are the very safest available. Today, more than 2,500 products ranging from toilet bowl cleaners to bilge tank treatments have been evaluated through the Design for the Environment Safer Product Labeling Program.

The Design for the Environment label means that each ingredient has been screened for potential adverse human or environmental health effects and that the product contains ingredients that pose the least concern among chemicals in their class. You can find a list of all 2,500 products, organized by category, or you can look for the Design for the Environment logo on the products you already buy.

Want to know more?

At 10:30 a.m. Thursday, Aug. 28, our Safer Chemistry Challenge is hosting a free, one-hour webinar with the EPA’s Bridget Williams for a deeper look at the Design for the Environment program.

Williams will discuss how the EPA evaluates products, how businesses can get their products certified, how the program works with industry to identify safer chemicals, and answer your questions. Register here.

Stay informed about our efforts to reduce the use of toxic chemicals by following our Tackling Toxics series right here on the ECOconnect blog.

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