EPA Seeking Input on Safer Choice Program Expansion
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently announced a 45-day public comment period on a proposed expansion of its Safer Choice and potentially its Design for the Environment (DfE) programs to include certification of additional product categories beyond cleaners and disinfectants. Safer Choice and DfE are voluntary EPA programs that help consumers, businesses, and purchasers find cleaning and disinfectant products that perform and meet stringent EPA criteria for effects on human health and the environment.
The Agency will hold a listening session webinar on Aug. 29, 2023, to gather feedback on certification of additional product categories by EPA’s Safer Choice and DfE programs.
Given the increasing consumer interest in chemicals used in products, EPA is working to expand its certification programs to include additional product categories, reflecting the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to safeguarding human health, addressing per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), and advancing environmental justice. The Agency is seeking input on which new product categories Safer Choice and DfE could expand into and how the potential expansion offers significant benefit to human health and the environment.
"Thanks to EPA’s Safer Choice and Design for the Environment programs, the marketplace has a tool to ensure consumers know if a product meets stringent EPA criteria for effects on human health and the environment," says EPA Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention Deputy Assistant Administrator for Pollution Prevention Jennie Romer. "We’re eager to engage with a variety of stakeholders on expanding the programs to additional product categories, empowering consumers to make informed choices about products they use in their daily lives."
As with cleaning products, EPA would evaluate each ingredient against a stringent set of health and environmental criteria outlined in the Safer Choice Standard. The availability of EPA certified products would help give consumers a choice of products that meet EPA’s high standard for human and environmental health and, as part of meeting these criteria, would not contain intentionally added PFAS.
EPA will hold a webinar to solicit input from stakeholders, including manufacturers and distributors, retailers, community groups and representatives from states, Tribal Nations, non-profit organizations, trade associations, and others.
• Aug. 29, 2023, 2:00 p.m. ET: This webinar will ask for input on the types of products Safer Choice and/or DfE should certify and why. Register here for the webinar.
Upon publication of the Federal Register notice, comments should be submitted to docket EPA-HQ-OPPT-2023-0311 on www.regulations.gov by September 11, 2023.
EPA will use the public input received during the webinar and in writing to guide the development and implementation of the expansion of its Safer Choice and/or DfE programs.
Safer Choice incentivizes chemistry that meets EPA’s stringent criteria for human health and the environment and provides opportunities for companies to differentiate their products in the marketplace with the Safer Choice label. With thousands of certified products, the Safer Choice label is a reliable way to find products whose chemical ingredients have met EPA’s criteria for being “safer” without sacrificing performance.
Visit the Safer Choice program website for more information.
Design for the Environment (DfE)
Similar to the Safer Choice label, EPA’s Design for the Environment (DfE) logo currently helps consumers and commercial buyers identify antimicrobial products like disinfectants that meet the health and safety standards of the normal pesticide registration process required by the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) as well as meeting the DfE certification criteria (as described in the Safer Choice Standard). When a consumer or purchaser sees EPA’s DfE logo on a product, they can feel confident that the product performs and meets stringent EPA criteria for human health and the environment.
Visit the Design for the Environment website for more information.