US EPA Design for the Environment Program adds Fragrances to Safer Chemical Ingredients List

Posted on: December 10, 2013

By Janet Wylie

Design for the Environment (DfE), an EPA partnership program, works with industry, environmental groups and academia to aid manufacturers and consumers alike to make safer and more environmentally sound choices concerning chemical products.  The DfE initially published the Safer Chemical Ingredients List in September 2012.  The Safer Chemical Ingredients List contains chemicals that meet the rigorous criteria of the DfE Safer Product Labeling Program.  This list of safer chemical ingredients is arranged by functional-use class and will assist product manufacturers in identifying chemicals the DfE program has already evaluated and identified as safer.  The assessment includes the identification and evaluation of all available toxicological and environmental data.  At the time the Safer Chemical Ingredients List was first published, fragrances were considered a priority but their inclusion to the list was delayed due to additional criteria development.

On July 24, 2013, the EPA’s Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention published the addition of 119 fragrance chemicals to DfE’s Safer Chemical Ingredient List.  The fragrance chemicals are for commercial and consumer cleaning products.

In order to develop the Safer Chemical Ingredient List for Fragrances, a set of DfE Criteria for Fragrances was developed by the EPA’s DfE Program, the fragrance industry, cleaning product manufacturers, environmental groups and other interested parties.  The criteria consist of a complex range of human health and environmental endpoints.  To be considered safer ingredients and allowed in a DfE-labeled product, fragrance chemicals must meet all the thresholds and data requirements in the Criteria for Fragrances.

For evaluated chemicals that meet DfE’s Criteria for Fragrances, only fully characterized chemicals with an adequate data set are eligible for a Green Circle, thereby noting the chemical has been verified to be of low concern based on experimental and modeled data.  A Yellow Triangle denotes those chemicals that have met DfE criteria for its functional ingredient class, but has some hazard profile issues.  In the case of fragrances, the Yellow Circle is used to identify a chemical which is a “Known sensitizer” or “Lacks sufficient sensitization data” or as a “Repeat-dose toxicant”.

 Green Circle- The chemical has been verified to be of low concern based on experimental and modeled data.

Green Half-Circle – The chemical is expected to be of low concern based on experimental and modeled data. Additional data would strengthen our confidence in the chemical’s safer status.

 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.

Chemicals considered as “Known sensitizer” and “Lacks sufficient sensitization data” will required certain restrictions including a 0.01% concentration limit in the final product or disclosure on the label for consumer products or specific dispensing systems for commercial use.  “Repeat-dose toxicant” restrictions include a 10% concentration limit.


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