Each ingredient in a formulation has a function in making a product work - whether it is to aid in cleaning by reducing surface tension (surfactants), dissolve or suspend materials (solvents), reduce water hardness (chelating agents), or provide a scent (fragrances). Within these "functional classes," many ingredients share similar toxicological and environmental fate characteristics. As a result, Safer Choice focuses its review of formulation ingredients on the key (environmental and human health) characteristics of concern within a functional class. This approach allows formulators to use those ingredients with the lowest hazard in their functional class, while still formulating high-performing products. The Safer Choice Program evaluates each ingredient in a formulation against the following Master and Functional-Class Criteria documents, as appropriate. These documents define the characteristics and toxicity thresholds for ingredients that are acceptable in Safer Choice products. The Safer Choice Criteria are based on EPA expertise in evaluating the physical and toxicological properties of chemicals, and while they incorporate authoritative lists of chemicals of concern, they go far beyond these lists to ensure that Safer Choice products contain only the safest possible ingredients.
Safer Choice has also defined functional-class criteria using the Master Criteria as a base in order to tailor health and environmental endpoints for key distinguishing characteristics specific to a given functional class.You may need a PDF reader to view some of the files on this page. See EPA’s About PDF page to learn more.