Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Looking for the safest stuff on the shelf? Look for Safer Choice

By Andrew Wineke, communications, Hazardous Waste and Toxics Reduction

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency took the wraps off its Safer Choice program today, aimed at offering shoppers an easy way to find cleaners and other household products that contain the safest chemical ingredients available.

Safer Choice is the updated version of the EPA’s Design for the Environment program. EPA changed the name and logo to make it easier for consumers to find and to emphasize the health benefits of using safer chemicals.

To earn the Safer Choice label, manufacturers need to submit the chemical ingredients in their product to an independent review that measures them against stringent human health and environmental criteria. Those that meet the highest standards are allowed to place the Safer Choice logo on their products.

What’s it mean, to be green?
Anyone who’s ever visited a grocery store knows that there are a lot of environmental claims out there, and it can be hard to tell what they really mean. At Ecology, Safer Choice is one of the product labeling programs we like because the criteria are transparent and we believe the standards are protective of human health and the environment.

Safer Choice is one of three environmental labeling programs that Washington and Oregon specify in their state janitorial contracts (along with Green Seal and Eco Logo), requiring contractors to use products meeting these standards whenever possible.

What’s happening in Washington

At Ecology, we’re doing our part to support safer products as well. Ecology works with Washington manufacturers to help them use the safest chemicals possible, and our green chemistry initiative works to advance the development of safer chemicals or new manufacturing methods that eliminate the use of toxic chemicals altogether. We also recognize Washington companies that are committed to reducing their use of toxic chemicals through our Safer Chemistry Champion Awards.

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