Deep Dive: EPA Safer Choice

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is the agency behind the Safer Choice label certificate. This label is meant to help consumers, businesses and purchasers find products that perform and contain ingredients that are safe for human health and the environment. To ensure this, the EPA makes sure every ingredient within the product is reviewed and then focuses on these 4 aspects: product performance, packaging, pH and Volatile Organic Compounds. Further information on the process can be reviewed here.

Since they are a federal agency they work on a budget, which means you can find more about their budgeting and planning here. 

We have mapped EPA Safer Choice certificate to:

  • Reducing Carbon Emissions
  • Protecting Ecosystems

EPA Safer Choice certifies:

  • Companies
  • Products
  • Suppliers & Manufacturers

Cost to get certified:

While Safer Choice is a voluntary program according to the EPA, the cost of certifying each product with one of their third-party bodies of certification can run $2,000 to $5,000 for each product depending on the products that need to be evaluated. This certification lasts for a period of 3 years and then the product has to be re-evaluated. 

Do they perform audits on the companies:

Yes, companies are subject to compliance with monitoring programs that sometimes include civil on-site inspections. 

Standards listed on their website:

Yes, this link will take you to the EPA’s Safer Choice Standard and Criteria webpage.


Ethically’s quick take:

At Ethically we neither agree nor disagree with the EPA Safer Choice, as we strongly believe based on evidence, that the agency can either do things the right way or not, depending on who’s turn it is to be in charge, and that it can also have set backs on its own legislations whenever that’s convenient for the power in turn. Deeply affected by politics, this agency can either be a tool for, or a weapon against the environment.