This week, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) added more than 130 chemicals to its Safer Chemical Ingredients List, which contains chemicals that meet the criteria of EPA’s Design for the Environment (DfE) Safer Product Labeling Program. For the first time, 119 fragrance chemicals for commercial and consumer cleaning products have also been added to the list.
Fragrance, although still thought to be a relatively low safety hazard compared to other chemicals, has become a health concern because of its unlisted ingredients. A study by the consumer advocacy groups Environmental Working Group and the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics tested 17 popular fragrances and found that the average fragrance product contained 14 undisclosed chemicals. Among them were phthalates, which are used to soften plastic and belong to the class of endocrine-disrupting chemicals that may affect the body’s hormone system.
With the addition of the new chemicals, the Safer Chemical Ingredient list now contains 602 chemicals. Established in September 2012, it serves as a resource for consumers, product manufacturers, and environmental and health advocates interested in the use of safer chemical ingredients in products. Product manufacturers can also use the guide to identify chemical ingredients that meet the DfE program’s rigorous scientific standards for protecting human health and the environment. More than 2,500 products are certified under the DfE Standard for Safer Products including all-purpose cleaners, laundry and dishwasher detergents, window cleaners, car and boat care, and many other products.