February 2021

ACI, Coalition request EPA to “restore” Safer Choice Program

The American Cleaning Institute (ACI) joined a diverse coalition of nearly 60 manufacturers and organizations asking the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to restore the Safer Choice Program.

A letter was sent Feb. 5 to EPA Acting Administrator Jane Nishida, voicing “strong support” for the program “as well as our concern for its long-term viability.”

The Safer Choice Program allows companies to get an agency-approved label if their products are proven to meet stringent health and environmental safety criteria. That label is used by consumers, and also to guide purchases made for schools and other institutions, said ACI.

The letter’s signatories – including cleaning product and chemical manufacturers, trade associations and non-governmental organizations – noted that the “resources and leadership have been drained from this critical program” during the past four years” and that the “program is now severely under-resourced with approximately four full-time staff.”

As part of the program, the EPA maintains a Safer Chemicals Ingredients List, or SCIL, consisting of chemicals that are among the safest available for their function.

“Companies across the value chain utilize the Safer Choice brand to advance their individual safer chemical initiatives – from brand owners to retailers to chemical manufacturers. The SCIL allows manufacturers the ability to offer best-in-class safer chemicals to the market that carry the robust third-party verification of the EPA,” the letter states. “Brand owners and product manufacturers have invested in Safer Choice by reformulating products using the SCIL to obtain Safer Choice certification. Major retailers specify the Safer Choice label as a way to verifiably meet corporate goals laid out in public facing chemicals policies.”

In 2020, the American Cleaning Institute became the first non-manufacturer organization to successfully submit cleaning product ingredients for inclusion in the SCIL.

“Adding chemicals to the SCIL encourages innovation and growth in safer products, increases markets for manufacturers and helps protect people and the environment,” said Kathleen Stanton, ACI Associate VP, Technical & International Affairs, who led ACI’s work on the submissions.