EPA Regulates Environmental Claims
In conjunction with the Design for Environment (DfE) Recognition for Disinfectants and Sanitizers pilot, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) launched the Limited Factual Claims of Environmental Preferability pilot program. This pilot program allows registrants to make certain limited factual claims of environmental preferability in conjunction with the promotion of disinfectants and sanitizers, including “dye or fragrance free” claims in addition to corporate commitment statements related to environmentally preferable activities. To date, the EPA has allowed eight products to make the dye or fragrance free claim, while four products have been allowed to include corporate commitment claims.
At an October 11 meeting, EPA and other representatives present, including ISSA, the Worldwide Cleaning Industry Association, finalized the criteria under which certain claims of biodegradability will now be allowed in regard to disinfectants and sanitizers. Claims of biodegradability were divided into two categories: 1) Claims of biodegradability in regard to all ingredients in the product; and 2) Claims of biodegradability that relate to only the surfactant(s) in the product. The following criteria were established for each type of claim of biodegradability:
“All Ingredients” Claim (i.e., “100% Biodegradable. All ingredients in this product are readily biodegradable in water.”)
Surfactant Class-Based Claim (“The surfactants contained in this product are biodegradable.”)
In addition, representatives present at the October 11 meeting discussed the possibility of allowing “no animal testing” claims in reference to disinfectants and/or sanitizers. Lastly, the possibility of “biobased content” claims was explored in the context of the USDA Biopreferred Program. No final decision was made in reference to these claims, but EPA officials indicated they would continue to explore the viability of allowing such claims in conjunction with disinfectants and sanitizers.
About EPA’s DfE
The EPA allows safer products to carry the Design for the Environment (DfE) label. This mark enables consumers to quickly identify and choose products that can help protect the environment and are safer for families.
When the DfE logo is present on a product it means that the DfE scientific review team has screened each ingredient for potential human health and environmental effects and that -- based on currently available information, EPA predictive models, and expert judgment -- the product contains only those ingredients that pose the least concern among chemicals in their class.
Product manufacturers that become DfE partners and earn the right to display the DfE logo on recognized products have invested heavily in research, development and reformulation to ensure that their ingredients and finished product line up on the green end of the health and environmental spectrum while maintaining or improving product performance.
EPA’s Design DfE program has allowed use of their logo on more than 2000 products. These products are formulated from the safest possible ingredients and have reduced the use of “chemicals of concern” by hundreds of millions of pounds, according to the EPA.