EPA replaces Design for the Environment with new “Safer Choice” label.
Today, EPA unveiled its new “Safer Choice” label, which replaces the Design for the Environment (DfE) label for cleaning and other chemical products that meet the agency’s standards for safer chemical ingredients. The new label underscores the program’s focus on human health and environmental safety standards with the hope of making it easier for families to choose safer products for families. EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy even appears with her dog in a short YouTube video to emphasize that children and pets are more vulnerable to chemicals.
The new “Safer Choice” label has different versions for products used in homes and for those used in office buildings, schools, and other institutions.
Speaking at a conference in Baltimore yesterday, Wendy Cleland-Hamnett, director of EPA’s Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics, said the agency consulted with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in developing in the new logo to ensure that it would comply with the FTC’s Green Guides on environmental marketing claims.
EPA also introduced a new label to substantiate fragrance-free claims in Safer Choice products. The revised “Safer Choice Standard” [PDF] specifies changes related to the new fragrance-free standard. Products that qualify for the Safer Choice label are eligible for the additional fragrance-free certification and label if no fragrance materials are in the product ingredients.
In addition, the agency announced that it “is aligning across product types the requirements applied to labeled products that contain sensitizers that exceed the de minimis level (0.01%) in the end-use product.” All Safer Choice products, not just consumer products, will now be required to disclose on the label if fragrance materials that are skin sensitizers are present above the de minimis level. Manufacturers of such products will also be required to provide EPA with information that the sensitizing ingredients are:
- critical to the fragrance essence or product identity;
- otherwise in compliance with the fragrances criteria;
- the subject of good faith explorations of alternatives; and
- subject to a monitoring system that would alert the Agency if a user reports any adverse effects from the product.
The new label does not change other aspects of the DfE program, such as safer chemical criteria.
On the agency’s blog, Administrator McCarthy wrote that producers and retailers including Clorox, Walmart, and Wegmans are on board to start putting products with the new label on shelves this year.