Eco-labeling program announces revised standard for hard surface cleaners
The Ottawa, Ontario-based EcoLogo Program has released its revised environmental standard for hard surface cleaners that limits products containing asthmagens or chemicals known to trigger or aggravate asthma, a disease affecting 25 million Americans and one in 10 school-aged children.
The revised standard strengthens the health and environmental requirements for certification of hard surface cleaners. It limits the use of asthmagens and excludes substances that are harmful to humans or the environment. The substances include ammonia, formaldehyde and phthalates — hazardous chemicals commonly found in cleaning products.
“This standard sets a vital benchmark to help identify hard surface cleaning products that excel in protecting health and the environment,” said Angela Griffiths, executive director of the EcoLogo Program. “We hope that purchasers and consumers will recognize the level of leadership and innovation displayed by manufacturers that have achieved EcoLogo certification for their environmentally preferable goods.”
The broad-reaching standard covers a variety of products used at home, in schools and in other institutional and commercial environments. It includes general purpose, bathroom and glass cleaners as well as dish detergents, degreasers and cleaners for cooking appliances. Beyond household cleaning products, the standard includes industrial, vehicle and boat cleaners.
Certification to the EcoLogo Program can provide a competitive advantage for manufacturers as increasing numbers of governments, institutions and purchasing groups implement environmental purchasing policies. In 2010, for instance, New York State revised its guidelines for purchasing environmentally sensitive cleaning products. It now requires schools to use cleaners that meet strict criteria, such as EcoLogo’s Hard Surface Cleaning standard.
Limiting asthmagens is an addition to the hard surface cleaners standard. In a statement, the EcoLogo Program announced that it would continue to research the issue to ensure that future revisions keep up to date with current research on asthmagens.
The EcoLogo Program develops standards designed to reduce environmental impacts by specifying criteria for safer chemicals and materials; use of recycled and recyclable materials; and minimizing pollution generated by the production, use and disposal of the products and their packaging. Manufacturers that are interested in obtaining the new Hard Surface Cleaners certification can submit a product application to EcoLogo to be evaluated by a third-party auditor.
Jack Geibig, director of the University of Tennessee Center for Clean Products, supported the standards development process for hard surface cleaners.
For information about the revised standard, Certification Criteria Document 146, go to the EcoLogo site, click on Our Standards and choose CCD-146 for Hard Surface Cleaners.
EcoLogo is a third-party certifier of environmentally preferable products. The Global Ecolabelling Network, an international association of eco-labeling programs, approves the EcoLogo eco-labeling program. The program is part of the UL global network.