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EPA Updates DfE Standards

Posted: April 21, 2011

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has updated its DfE Standard for Safer Cleaning Products to help increase public awareness of safe ingredient use in DfE-recognized cleaning products. Per the new regulations, “manufacturers must publicly disclose all intentionally added ingredients in their DfE-labeled products, except for ‘incidental ingredients,’ that is, ingredients present at insignificant levels that have no technical or functional effect,” with these disclosures needing to take place on the product label, formulator’s website, at a toll-free number or through other DfE-approved media.

Specifically in regard to fragrance ingredients, these may be listed as “Fragrance” on the product label, but formulators must provide more detailed information in a forum such as their website or the International Fragrance Association’s (IFRA) list of fragrance materials on its website, and they must point to this forum on the product label. If the fragrance ingredients are not trade secrets, “the product formulator may state on its Web site the palette of fragrance materials used in its products or the ingredients in the fragrance, and may include, at the formulator’s discretion, ingredients not used in the fragrance.”

In the ingredient descriptions, all ingredients except for those protected as trade secrets must use the CAS number (if available) and at least one of the following to describe the ingredients: Consumer Specialty Products Association (CSPA) Consumer Products Ingredient Dictionary name, International Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredients (INCI) name or International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) name. For ingredients protected as trade secrets, a chemical-descriptive name can be used, but it must be as specific as possible without revealing the trade secret information.

Additionally, the revisions addressed products designed for prolonged dermal contact, with additional regulations for non-irritants, pH, allergens and sensitizers, dermal absorption, potential endocrine effects, residuals of concern and fragrances, noting specifically for fragrances that, in these dermal contact products, all fragrance components must comply with DfE Criteria for Fragrances, regardless of their percentage of the fragrance’s makeup.

For more on these updates to the DfE Standard for Safer Cleaning Products, visit the EPA’s website.