Safer Choice is a Great Choice for Clean Water

by Krsafe choice logoistian Blessington

Growing up in Florida, surrounded by water, I’ve always enjoyed the many recreational opportunities on its lakes, rivers, springs, and beaches. Spending so much time in such beautiful and pristine surroundings instilled in me an appreciation for the natural environment, as well as a sense of its fragility and need for its preservation.

These feelings persist, perhaps even more strongly, since I’ve joined EPA and now pursue my love of outdoor activities in the Mid-Atlantic. They inspire my work with the Safer Choice program, and our efforts to prevent pollution of our nation’s water bodies through the promotion of sustainable products.

Safer Choice is EPA’s label for cleaning and other products made with safer chemical ingredients. Leveraging our Agency’s more than 40 years of experience assessing the human and environmental safety of chemicals, more than 2,000 products we all use every day qualify to carry the Safer Choice label, such as multi-purpose cleaners, hand soaps, car and boat care products, floor cleaners, pet care products, and many more. Safer Choice-labeled products contain ingredients that are safer for aquatic life and the environment and for your family, community, and pets.

To be eligible for the label, a product must meet the Safer Choice Standard, which is green chemistry-focused and grounded in stringent human health and environmental criteria.  Safer Choice evaluates all intentionally added ingredients in a product, regardless of percentage. That means Safer Choice-labeled products contain only the safest possible ingredients, while still meeting performance requirements.  Importantly, for products intended for use outdoors (bypassing the drain and sewage treatment, directly entering the environment), such as car and boat cleaners, Safer Choice has a higher bar to provide aquatic life with an extra margin of protection.

And there’s even more good news for our waterways. Labeled products are made with ingredients that, once they enter the local watershed, will break down more quickly through natural processes. The result: less pollution in streams, less contamination of the food chain, reduced impacts on water treatment facilities compared to conventional products, and less damage to the ecosystem.  This is something anglers, boaters, and beach-goes will appreciate.

For more information on the U.S. EPA Safer Choice Program and to find Safer Choice-labeled products.

 

About the Author: Kristian has been with EPA since 2016. He works in the Safer Choice program on outreach and program support initiatives. He previously worked with state and local governments in Florida on community health assessments and health education initiatives. He lives in DC, and is an avid hiker and outdoor enthusiast.

Editor's Note: The views expressed here are intended to explain EPA policy. They do not change anyone's rights or obligations. You may share this post. However, please do not change the title or the content, or remove EPA’s identity as the author. If you do make substantive changes, please do not attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.

EPA's official web site is www.epa.gov. Some links on this page may redirect users from the EPA website to specific content on a non-EPA, third-party site. In doing so, EPA is directing you only to the specific content referenced at the time of publication, not to any other content that may appear on the same webpage or elsewhere on the third-party site, or be added at a later date.

EPA is providing this link for informational purposes only. EPA cannot attest to the accuracy of non-EPA information provided by any third-party sites or any other linked site. EPA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies, internet applications or any policies or information expressed therein.

Safer Choice Now in Spanish

By Claudia Menasche, ORISE Fellow, Safer Choice Program, US Environmental Protection Agency

I was born in Venezuela and moved to Miami, FL when I was two years old.  Growing up in the U.S. with a Spanish speaking family, being bilingual was a natural outgrowth of my environment.  As owners of a small international business that sells primarily to South American countries, my parents work and communicate in Spanish all day.  I joined EPA’s Safer Choice program last November and have had the privilege to design our new Spanish website.  This website, Safer Choice en español, can help millions of Spanish speaking people, like my father, easily find information on products with safer ingredients.

Safer Choice in español helps spread awareness of safer cleaning and other products to the largest ethnic minority in the United States and to other Spanish-speaking countries.  It is essential that all people, including Spanish-speaking communities, understand the importance of easily finding products with ingredients that are safer for human health and the environment.  By building awareness about the Safer Choice label in Spanish-speaking communities, we can help:

  • Spanish-speaking parents easily find products with ingredients that are safer for their children and families.
  • Workers learn how to protect their health and their communities using products with safer ingredients.
  • People who simply do not have the time, financial resources, or support needed to learn English gain access to information on products with safer ingredients.

Safer Choice en español is our way of helping Spanish-speaking communities find products with safer chemical ingredients.    Products must meet the Safer Choice Standard to be certified to carry the Safer Choice label. This means that every chemical, regardless of percentage, in Safer Choice-labeled products is evaluated by EPA scientists and must meet our rigorous health and environmental criteria.   If you see the label on a product, you can be sure that it’s made with ingredients that are safer for families, pets, workplaces and the environment. In addition to chemical ingredients, Safer Choice-labeled products are evaluated for performance.  This means they work.  Also, surveys have found that institutional purchasers and consumers agree that Safer Choice-labeled products can be just as affordable as other products. Here’s a link to a survey by Consumer Reports.

I want to get all Spanish-speaking communities across the country to look for the Safer Choice label. So make sure to look for the Safer Choice label on products for your home and facilities.  I know my father will.

To learn more about the label (in Spanish!), please visit Safer Choice en español at: https://espanol.epa.gov/saferchoice.

About the author: Claudia Menasche is an Oak Ridge Institute of Science and Education (ORISE) participant serving in EPA’s Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention.  She has a background in Environmental Science and plans to focus her future studies and career on the intersection of science and policymaking.

Editor's Note: The views expressed here are intended to explain EPA policy. They do not change anyone's rights or obligations. You may share this post. However, please do not change the title or the content, or remove EPA’s identity as the author. If you do make substantive changes, please do not attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.

EPA's official web site is www.epa.gov. Some links on this page may redirect users from the EPA website to specific content on a non-EPA, third-party site. In doing so, EPA is directing you only to the specific content referenced at the time of publication, not to any other content that may appear on the same webpage or elsewhere on the third-party site, or be added at a later date.

EPA is providing this link for informational purposes only. EPA cannot attest to the accuracy of non-EPA information provided by any third-party sites or any other linked site. EPA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies, internet applications or any policies or information expressed therein.