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How to Identify Safer Cleaning Products

Organisations that evaluate products using science-based criteria for health and environmental impacts are called third-party certifiers. They help us identify less hazardous cleaning products and publish lists of the products they have evaluated and certified. They have developed standards that they use to review products. These standards prohibit or limit chemicals that can cause the following:

  • Cancer and reproductive harm
  • Asthma
  • Corrosive damage to the skin and eyes
  • Toxicity to fish and other aquatic animals
  • Indoor air pollution and other
  • Environmental and health problems

The Main Certification Agencies

The UK Cleaning Products Industry Association (UKCPI): is the leading association representing UK producers of washing powders and liquids, fabric conditioners, bar soaps, hand and machine dish wash, household disinfectants, air care and polishes and specialist cleaners for use in kitchens and bathrooms.

EcoLogo: is a program of Underwriters Laboratory based in Canada. Some of these products are available in the U.S. and some are not.

Green Seal: is a program based in the U.S. and used by many institutional purchasers.

Design for the Environment (DfE): is a U.S. EPA program. DfE certifies both institutional and retail/consumer products.

If a product does not carry a third-party certification logo, look for the following:

  • Ingredients listed on the label
  • No signal word “Danger” on the label. “Signal words” on the label are used to indicate the product’s relative level of severity of hazard and alert the reader to a potential hazard.
  • Non-aerosol
  • No overwhelming chemical odour
  • Fragrance-free
  • Dye-free

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