Online Program

Public health on the shelf: EPA's Safer Choice label

Monday, November 2, 2015

Alyson N. Lorenz, MPH, Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, DC
Bridget Williams, PhD, Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, DC
Chemically intensive products used in homes, schools, and businesses are a source of direct human and environmental exposures to potentially toxic chemicals. EPA's Safer Choice program promotes safer products and green chemistry innovation as a path toward reducing these exposures. Consumers, businesses, and institutional buyers are increasingly aware of the health and environmental impacts of their purchasing decisions. However, decision-makers are often met with "green washing," conflicting information, and difficult choices about potential trade-offs. Consumers and other buyers are seeking tools to assist them in making timely, informed purchasing decisions. EPA's Safer Choice program recognizes over 2,000 products, helping consumers, businesses, and institutional buyers identify products that are safer for human health and the environment. Developed to help product manufacturers find safer chemicals for their products, EPA's Safer Chemical Ingredients List (SCIL), which highlights over 600 chemicals that have met the program's criteria, is an additional tool for purchasers of chemically intensive products. Each chemical is screened for potential human health and environmental effects. As a result, only those that meet Safer Choice criteria for safest in class are listed on the SCIL and allowed in labeled products. Products awarded the Safer Choice label have also been reviewed against the program's Safer Choice Standard, which addresses considerations beyond chemical ingredients, including packaging sustainability, product performance, and ingredient disclosure.

Learning Areas:

Environmental health sciences

Learning Objectives:
Discuss challenges in identifying safer products. Describe the Safer Choice program’s tools for consumers, businesses, and institutional buyers. Explain how EPA’s Safer Choice program assesses and identifies safer products and chemicals.

Keyword(s): Environmental Health, Chemical Exposures & Prevention

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a physical scientist with U.S. EPA's Safer Choice program.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.