EPA Adds Chemicals to Safer Chemicals Ingredient List
Last month, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) added 36 chemicals to the Safer Chemical Ingredient List (SCIL) under its Safer Choice program. The updated listing is intended to guide product formulators in selection of chemical ingredients EPA deems perform and contain ingredients that are safer for human health and the environment.
The SCIL may be downloaded as an Excel file here.
EPA notes listings bring renewed emphasis and interest in the program. An overview of the SCIL is available online. New listings are listed in the updates tab of the SCIL Excel file available on EPA’s SCIL website, also attached to this e-mail.
Safer Choice is an EPA Pollution Prevention (P2) program, which includes practices that reduce, eliminate, or prevent pollution at its source, such as using safer ingredients in products. Listing is intended to guide product formulators in selection of chemical ingredients.
Chemicals that qualify for listing on SCIL must meet the Criteria for Safer Chemical Ingredients and are eligible for use in products that carry the Safer Choice label, with some exception. EPA has set up a process by which a third-party profiles and assesses the chemical submissions, and encourages submission of new chemicals for the SCIL. The agency has set up guidelines for how to submit chemicals for consideration.
Criteria for Safer Chemical Ingredients
Each chemical 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), or reduce water hardness (chelating agents). Within these “functional classes,” many ingredients share similar toxicological and environmental fate characteristics. As a result, EPA’s 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 agency’s 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.
Notably, the functional class criteria is organized into the following categories:
- Chelating and sequestering agents
- Colorants, polymers, preservatives, and related chemicals
- Enzymes and enzyme stabilizers
- Oxidants and oxidant stabilizers
- Processing aids and additives
The 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. Safer Choice applies the criteria using EPA research and analytical methods to ensure that Safer Choice products contain only the safest possible ingredients. All criteria documents are part of the Safer Choice Standard.
Contact ACA’s Riaz Zaman for more information.