Do you find the EPA, Greenseal, and Ecologo labels confusing? Do you know the difference?
It can be confusing. Let’s break it down.
First, you need to know who these organizations are and what they do.
EPA: Environmental Protection Agency. This government agency monitors many different sectors of business including chemical manufacturing. The EPA regulates the use of bacteria and virus kill claims that manufacturers can use on their cleaning chemicals. If a product has a kill claim (kills 99.9% of germs that cause ‘xyz’ virus or bacteria), this means it has been registered with the US EPA.
Green Seal: This is a third party organization that certifies chemicals and many other products (toilet paper & such) based on a variety of environmental and health standards. If a product has Green Seal, this means that it meets the highest standards of environmental responsibility.
EcoLogo (TerraChoice): This is also a third party organization, originally based out of Canada, that certifies chemicals and other products (again, like toilet paper) based on a variety of environmental and health standards. If a product has EcoLogo, this means that it meets the highest standards of environmental responsibility.
In 2006, the EPA issued a statement clarifying that any regulated antrimocribial product (any EPA registered product) is forbidden by federal law to use the Green Seal label, EcoLogo label or any other such similar labeling or endorsements, even if the product meets their certification requirements.
The EPA further clarified that “advertising and collateral literature or verbal claims for the product must not substantially differ from any claims made on the label or labeling.” See 40 CFR 12(a)(1)(B) if you want some fun reading material on the EPA labeling process.
You need EPA if you’re in a facility that:
A) Requires sanitizing or disinfecting.
B) Requires specific kill claims against viruses and bacteria.
You need Green Seal/EcoLogo if you’re in a facility that:
A) Wants a green certification.
B) Does NOT require kill claims.
Here’s another thing to understand:
The EPA Toxicity Definition
The EPA has its own method for defining a product’s toxicity level. The system categorizes products into four toxicity categories based on six toxicity studies:
1) Acute oral
2) Acute dermal
3) Dermal sensitization
4) Acute inhalation
5) Primary eye irritation
6) Primary skin irritation
Products that are most toxic in these studies are considered Category I which requires the DANGER signal word, and those that are the least toxic are Category IV and do not require any cautionary labeling.
The EPA requires that all chemicals regardless of toxicity and usage are labeled with precautionary warnings such as “Keep Out of Reach of Children” and other signal words.
So there ya go. The quick skinny on what all those labels mean & when to care about which kind you’re paying attention to. We hope that helps. If you need help picking a chemical that is EPA Registered but would also be considered green, we can help you with that, too.
Our favorite? Envirox. Read about it here.
Give Tarheel Paper Co. a call today. We have the cleaning chemicals you need to get the job done.