ACI supports, seeks modifications to EPA Safer Choice Program; urges TSCA accountability

Written on: January 28, 2024 by SprayTM

As the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) plans to make updates to its Safer Choice Standards, the American Cleaning Institute (ACI) expressed support but is seeking modifications to what EPA is proposing.  

The proposed updates to Safer Choice are the first since 2015. Many ACI member companies participate in the program, whose aim is to help consumers, businesses and purchasers find products that perform and contain ingredients that are safer for human health and the environment.  

“ACI supports necessary updates to Safer Choice standards to ensure the Safer Choice Program remains current with the state of scientific and technological innovation,” wrote Darius Stanton, ACI Director, Regulatory Science, in comments to the agency.

“ACI agrees with the inclusion of the voluntary submission of information to encourage leadership and innovation in sustainable energy use and reduce carbon-based energy consumption” but “believes that some proposals require further explanation,” Stanton added.

After reviewing the standard updates, ACI made several requests: 

  • Clarifications for entering or exiting a product class: “ACI requests that the Safer Choice Program provide an explanation when a decision is made that an ingredient must exit a product class. Although this may be a rare occasion, the justification for the exit—and the requirement that the Safer Choice logo be removed from products—should be clear to all.” 
  • Primary packaging: “ACI recommends that EPA revisit any packaging standard after the FTC releases their updated Green Guides, so that terms will be clearly defined and consistent with federal commercial definitions to avoid any regulatory confusion.” 
  • Remove language requiring additional aquatic toxicity data: “Requesting additional ‘aquatic toxicity data for at least one trophic level for the chemical under evaluation’ should be maintained under TSCA’s Existing Chemicals program instead of Safer Choice. ACI recommends that the request for additional aquatic toxicity data be required on a case-by-case basis and maintain the current standard surfactant criteria.” 
  • Restrictions to enzyme uses: “ACI recommends that EPA clarifies language under the enzymes standard” to remove any confusion over uses of enzymes for any indoor products, “especially laundry and dish applications.” 

Read the full comments here.

Further, ACI is urging Congress to hold the EPA accountable in meeting its statutory obligations to review new chemical submissions, as required by the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA)

ACI submitted written comments as the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee examined EPA’s TSCA implementation as part of the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act, during a hearing on Capitol Hill. 

“ACI urges the Committee members to ensure the EPA abides by statutory obligations under TSCA for reviewing new chemicals, specifically, that the Agency still needs to meet its statutory obligation to review and make final determinations on new chemicals within 90 days,” wrote Blake Nanney, ACI Director, Government Affairs. 

As the Committee reviews EPA’s TSCA implementation protocols, ACI asks that they consider: 

  • The backlog of the review process 
  • Delays which make the review process unpredictably and unnecessarily restrictive, and its subsequent impact on chemical innovation in the U.S. 
  • The impact of delaying the introduction of new products to the market 
  • The impact these delays have on introducing more sustainable chemistry products to the market 

Read the full comments here