Safer Chemical Ingredients for Use in DfE-Labeled Products
The Safer Chemical Ingredients List contains chemicals that meet the criteria of the Design for the Environment (DfE) Safer Product Labeling Program. This voluntary program recognizes products that are high-performance and cost-effective using the safest chemical ingredients. At present, about 2,500 products carry the DfE Safer Product Label. This list of safer chemical ingredients is arranged by functional-use class and will assist product manufacturers in identifying chemicals that the DfE program has already evaluated and identified as safer.
- DfE's Safer Chemical Ingredients List
- About the List
- GreenBlue’s CleanGredients®
- Additional Resources
DfE's Safer Chemical Ingredients List
A downloadable Excel spreadsheet (XLS, 361KB) of the Safer Chemical Ingredients List is also available.
(Download Excel Viewer)
See the Updates tab in the Excel spreadsheet for recently added chemicals.
About the List
As with product reviews, before DfE decides to include a chemical on the SCIL (i.e., based on meeting the safer chemical criteria for its functional class), a third-party profiler gathers hazard information from a broad set of resources. The assessment includes the identification and evaluation of all available toxicological and environmental fate data. The third party profiler submits a report to DfE, including a recommendation on whether the chemical passes DfE criteria. DfE staff performs due diligence by reviewing the submission for completeness, consistency, and compliance with the DfE criteria. If more than one third-party has evaluated the chemical, DfE also checks for differences in the profiles and resolves any conflicts. In some cases, DfE may also perform additional literature reviews and consider data from confidential sources, such as the New Chemicals Program. DfE does not typically examine primary literature (original studies) as part of its review and listing decisions.
Additional chemicals may be added to this list as DfE evaluates chemical ingredients and approves products for the DfE label. Chemicals may be removed from the list or have their status changed based on new data or innovations that raise the safer-chemistry bar. DfE will ensure that no confidential or trade secret information appears in this list.
†The DfE Standard and Criteria for Safer Chemical Ingredients are protective and address a broad range of potential toxicological effects, including:
- carcinogens, mutagens, reproductive or developmental toxicants;
- persistent, bioaccumulative and toxic chemicals;
- systemic or internal organ toxicants;
- sensitizers; and
- chemicals on authoritative lists of chemicals of concern.
- Chemicals that exhibit endocrine activity are closely evaluated. Those associated with toxicological hazards are not allowed.
- Impurities can be present in chemicals that are used in DfE products. DfE limits impurities that do not meet its criteria to not more than 0.01 percent in the final product. The safer chemicals list does not include impurities.
* All chemicals in the listing are among the safest for their functional use.
Yellow triangle - The chemical has met DfE criteria for its functional ingredient-class, but has some hazard profile issues. Specifically, a chemical with this code is not associated with a low level of hazard concern for all human health and environmental endpoints. (See
DfE criteria). While it is a best-in-class chemical and among the safest available for a particular function, the function fulfilled by the chemical should be considered an area for safer chemistry innovation.
Grey square - This chemical will not be acceptable for use in products that are candidates for the DfE label and currently labeled products that contain it must reformulate per DfE Compliance Schedules.
Note: Some functional class listings contain both green circle and yellow triangle chemicals because the yellow triangle chemicals fill a functional need not met by the available green circle chemicals. For example, yellow triangle preservatives are needed to meet the full range of antimicrobial efficacy, and yellow triangle solvents are needed to meet restrictions on volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in certain product classes.
A complementary resource for ingredients that meet DfE’s Criteria for Safer Chemical Ingredients is the CleanGredients® database (www.cleangredients.org) . Developed by the non-governmental organization (NGO) GreenBlue, CleanGredients® serves as a marketplace for manufacturers searching for safer ingredients and raw material suppliers showcasing their safer chemicals. CleanGredients® provides information on trade names, base formulations, functional/performance properties, and supplier/vendor information.
See the following resources for additional information on the chemicals in cleaning products:
- EPA’s ChemView increases public access to data on chemicals that have been developed by EPA and/or provided by industry. Learn about EPA's ChemView.
- Consumer Specialty Products Association (CSPA) Consumer Product Ingredients Dictionary
What's New with DfE?
January 29, 2014 -- EPA issued final DfE alternatives assessments for DecaBDE and BPA.
The Flame Retardant Alternatives Assessment for Decabromodiphenyl Ether (DecaBDE) (PDF) (901pp, 10.84MB) evaluates and compares potential hazards associated with decaBDE and 29 alternatives. Read more.
The Alternatives Assessment for Bisphenol A (BPA) in Thermal Paper (PDF) (519pp, 3.72MB) evaluates and compares potential hazards associated with BPA in thermal paper and 19 alternatives. Read more.
January 23, 2014 -- EPA updated DfE’s Safer Chemical Ingredients List (SCIL), adding 50 chemicals – bringing the number of safer fragrance chemicals to 150 and the total number of safer chemicals to nearly 650.