EPA seeks to enhance Safer Choice Standard

EPA seeks to enhance Safer Choice Standard

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced its intention to update the Safer Choice Standard, a program that guides consumers and commercial buyers towards products made with safer chemical ingredients. The EPA is calling for public input on these proposed changes until January 16, 2024, and will host an informative webinar on December 19, 2023.

The Safer Choice and Design for the Environment (DfE) programs are pivotal in helping individuals and organisations find cleaning and disinfecting products that are less harmful to human health and the environment. Jennie Romer, deputy assistant administrator for Pollution Prevention at the EPA’s Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention, emphasised the role of the Safer Choice program in promoting safer, greener chemistry in the market.

Key proposed updates to the Safer Choice Standard include:

1. A new certification for cleaning service providers using Safer Choice- and DfE-certified products, focusing on the protection of workers and occupants in cleaned spaces.

2. Enhanced sustainable packaging requirements, reflecting consumer preferences and advancements in packaging technology.

3. Expanded criteria for pet care products, ensuring the safest ingredients for both humans and pets.

4. Clarifications on EPA’s protocols for evaluating product classes and addressing unforeseen risks.

5. Revised guidelines on using data from New Approach Methodologies in chemical reviews.

6. Optional criteria for energy efficiency and use reduction, encouraging reduced water and energy consumption.

7. Updated criteria for wipe products to minimise impact on wastewater treatment systems.

8. Consideration of a new alternate logo to highlight products safe for outdoor use.

These updates, the fourth since the program’s inception in 2009 and the first since 2015, aim to align the standard with the latest scientific and technological advancements, enhance transparency, and broaden the program’s scope.

The December webinar will provide more details on these updates and is targeted at a wide range of stakeholders, including manufacturers, distributors, retailers, community groups, representatives from states, Tribal Nations, non-profit organisations, trade associations, and others. Registration for the webinar is available online.

Comments on the proposed updates can be submitted to the EPA-HQ-OPPT-2023-0520 docket on Regulations.gov following the publication of the Federal Register notice.

The Safer Choice label and DfE logo are trusted indicators for consumers seeking products that meet EPA’s stringent health and environmental criteria without compromising performance. For more information, visit the Safer Choice program and Design for the Environment websites.