Tuesday, April 26, 2011
EPA Demands Full Ingredients on Designed for the Environment Products
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will require all products using its Designed for the Environment labeling program to disclose their full ingredients to consumers.
The new requirement is being phased in to cover all 2,500 products that currently carry the DfE label. Products involved in the scheme will have to have a full list of ingredients on their label or in an easily accessible place, such as a website. Ingredients that are part of trade secrets will be exempt from the listing, the EPA says.
New DfE-approved products also will have to meet additional life-cycle requirements such as sustainable packaging and limits on volatile organic compounds. The life-cycle requirements will also be phased in for existing DfE products. The EPA has been working with product manufacturers on the new requirements and says it applauds the efforts of companies who have already moved towards these standards.
The DfE label is designed to demonstrate that products do not contain known chemicals of potential concern, such as carcinogens and reproductive and developmental toxins. Even minor product components, like dyes and fragrances, are screened for safety, the agency says.
“[Our] DfE Program helps empower people to choose products that are safer for their families and our planet,” said Steve Owens, assistant administrator for the EPA’s Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention. “The DfE program provides important information about the safety of certain products that contain chemicals and gives consumers confidence that DfE products meet rigorous [environmental] requirements.”
Before allowing the DfE logo to be used on a product label, the EPA conducts a scientific evaluation to ensure that candidate products are formulated from the safest possible ingredients. The DfE label means that the EPA has screened each ingredient for potential human health and environmental effects and that the product contains only ingredients that, in the agency’s scientific opinion, pose the least concern among chemicals in their class.
Products that carry the DfE label include all-purpose cleaners, laundry and dishwasher detergents, drain line maintainers, car and boat care and other products. Using DfE-labeled products significantly reduces exposures to chemicals that may be of concern to people’s or environmental health, the EPA said.
In recognition of Earth Day, the EPA announced last week that the DfE program had reached the milestone of having 2,500 products labeled as environmentally sound.
The DfE is a voluntary program that began in 1992 as a way for U.S. companies to help consumers make environmentally conscious decisions when purchasing goods.
More information at: http://epa.gov/dfe/