What is a Natural Cleaner or Natural home care product ?
Posted by Norman Fong
What is exactly a Natural Cleaner or Natural home care product ? There had been no standards setup in the home cleaning products area but now the Natural Products Association (NPA) is now extending its natural seal and standard to include home care products, such as household cleaners, laundry detergents, concentrated and ready-to-use hard surface cleaners.
To receive the new Nature Seal of Approval, the product must meet these criteria:
- Product must be made up of at least 95 percent truly natural ingredients or ingredients that are derived from natural sources, excluding water
- No ingredients with any suspected human health risks
- No processes that significantly or adversely alter the natural ingredients
- Ingredients that come from a purposeful, natural source (flora, fauna, mineral)
- Processes that are minimal and don’t use synthetic/harsh chemicals
- Non-natural ingredients only when viable natural alternative ingredients are unavailable and only when there are absolutely no suspected potential human health risks
- Transparency and full disclosure of ingredients
In May 2008, the Natural Products Association established a standard and seal for natural personal care products, such as lotions, balms and shampoos. To date, more than 340 products have currently been approved and certified.
What Do Green Labels or Eco Seals Mean
WSJ has a good article that covers the green washing that is going on with all these green bugs and logos on products. Many logos mean virtually nothing.
Their list is pretty good although they should have added things like USDA Organic and Fair Trade. Here are the ones that you should look for:
These 15 green-label programs are recognized as good benchmarks by experts and retailers such as Green Depot and Office Depot.
- Green Seal (www.greenseal.org)
- Energy Star (www.energystar.gov)
- EPA Design for the Environment (www.epa.gov/dfe)
- WaterSense (www.epa.gov/watersense)
- Forest Stewardship Council (www.fsc.org)
- Scientific Certification Systems (www.scscertified.com)
- EcoLogo (www.ecologo.org)
- Greenguard (www.greenguard.org)
- Cradle to Cradle (www.c2ccertified.com)
- Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool (www.epeat.net)
- Global Organic Textile Standard (www.global-standard.org)
- Biodegradable Products Institute (www.bpiworld.org)
- FloorScore (www.rfci.com)
- Totally Chlorine Free (www.chlorinefreeproducts.org)
- Carpet and Rug Institute’s Green Label/Green Label Plus (www.carpet-rug.org)
*Source: WSJ research
Here are some terms that are meaningless as there are no standard definitions:
- Fragrance Free
- Whitened without chlorine (Other chemicals could be used)
Greenwashing Labels – Misleading Green Labeling
According to a study, 95% of consumer products committed at least 1 offense of “greenwashing” or displaying unproven environmental claims. The word green or eco friendly can and does help sell products. It is time to examine terminology closer.
Greener Choices has a good Eco-labels center that helps you decipher what green product claims really mean. Some interesting facts. This little marketing logos or bugs work to make products look more legit.
The “free-range” label doesn’t necessarily mean the animals went outdoors.
Meat labeled as “natural” can contain artificial ingredients, and Natural does mean anything unless it pertains to meat and poultry where it means minimally processed with no artificial flavor, coloring, or chemical preservatives. “Natural” turkey can have diets that include hormones, anti-biotics, or genetically modified corn.
Simple Green says it is nontoxic but it contains 2-butoxyethanol that has been linked to reduced fertility in mice.
Terrachoice covers the six sins of Greenwashing: Hidden Trade-off, No Proof, Vagueness, Irrelevance, Fibbing, Lesser of Two Evils.
FTC has a guide to various green terms.
Simply Green Cleaner not so simple or green
Simply Green is a popular cleaning product that is marketed as nontoxic and environmentally friendly. Analysis has shown that it is not that simple and nontoxic as it contains EGBE, also known as 2-butoxyethanol: “the company said it didn’t detail all the chemicals in its products to protect its formula from piracy…. ”
“William Nazaroff, a professor of environmental engineering and chairman of the Energy and Resources Group at UC Berkeley, said the EPA erred when it removed the chemical from the hazardous air pollutants list.
Nazaroff conducted a study for the California Air Resources Board in 2006 on the indoor air chemistry of cleaning agents and toxic air contaminants.
He found that people using some common products containing EGBE could be exposed to levels 12 times greater than California’s one-hour exposure guideline.”
A quick look at the Simply Green Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) shows the 2-butoxyethanol ingredient. It also has <1.2% VOCs. Far from a product that is all natural. Furthermore, the Simply Green bottle does not even list all ingredients.
Filed under: Cleaning, Easy, Eco Friendly, Effort, Environment, Green, Health, Home, Indoor Air Quality, Kitchen, Money, Shopping | Tags: Natural Cleaner, Natural home care product, natural products, product labeling, product seals
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