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Green Seal announced a prohibition on any per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in all Green Seal-certified cleaning and personal care products, making Green Seal a leader in addressing these harmful “forever chemicals.” Products certified to Green Seal’s updated standards will be verified to be PFAS-free and to meet one of the highest benchmarks for safety and environmental protection in the marketplace.

Green Seal’s standards have long prohibited long-chain PFAS formally classified as hazardous. However, a growing body of evidence indicates that short-chain PFAS have the same harmful health and environmental effects as the legacy PFAS they are replacing. Green Seal’s updated cleaning and personal care product standards now prohibit all approximately 12,000 chemicals in this class.

“Purchasers and manufacturers know the hazards of this class of toxic chemicals but lack reliable ways to ensure products are PFAS-free,” says Doug Gatlin, CEO of Green Seal. “Green Seal’s standard criteria now eliminate PFAS throughout the product formula supply chain for certified cleaning and personal care products while maintaining performance requirements, so buyers can choose safer, healthier, and effective products with confidence.”

PFAS are persistent in the environment, with evidence that some chemicals are so resistant to degradation that they could persist for hundreds of years. The chemicals are now found in drinking water and bioaccumulate in both soil and humans. PFAS are associated with numerous adverse health effects, including impacts on the endocrine and reproductive systems; increased risks of certain cancers such as prostate, testicular, and kidney; and decreased immune responses — including our body’s ability to develop beneficial antibodies in response to vaccines.

It can be challenging for consumers and even manufacturers to be certain that products do not use PFAS. For example, PFAS frequently are used in raw materials – and those proprietary formulas often are not fully disclosed to the final product manufacturer. With the new prohibition, Green Seal can provide assurance to both manufacturers and buyers that their Green Seal-certified cleaning and personal care products are PFAS-free.

Green Seal is taking a product-category approach to developing PFAS restrictions as part of a multi-year phased initiative to ensure that certified products in all categories have leadership restrictions on PFAS. This approach is critical to ensure Green Seal’s standards effectively address manufacturing and use considerations that vary by product category, including exposure pathways, functional performance, and regrettable substitutes. Green Seal focused first on eliminating PFAS in formulas for certified cleaning and personal care products because PFAS is non-essential for performance of these types of products.

Learn more about Green Seal’s PFAS initiative here.