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General Questions | Questions on Ingredients | Questions on Certification & Screening

General Questions

How do you define “toxic,” “safe” and “harmful”?

“Toxic” means that a product has been linked to human health or ecosystem harm. We evaluate for bioaccumulation, environmental persistence, off-gassing, aquatic and animal toxicity as part of our screening process.

“Safe” means that ingredients are not known or suspected to cause human health harm as determined by scientifically recognized lists from around the world. In order to do this, our scientists, researchers and/or advisers analyze the materials, ingredients and chemical components of a product (as obtained through our required paper screening) to ensure it does not contain harmful ingredients or release vapors, gases, or by-products that could impact human health.

“Harmful” means that an ingredient has enough available data on how it harms human health to be added to one of the authoritative lists from agencies and organizations around the world or that our Screening Process has found the ingredient to be harmful to human health or the wider ecosystem.

For more on our screening visit here.

Who regulates the 84,000+ chemicals in use in the U.S.?

Unfortunately, U.S. government agencies including the Food and Drug Administration, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Consumer Product Safety Commission don’t have the authority to truly protect the public from toxic chemicals by requiring safety testing for all chemicals in use or added to the market. The EPA, which regulates most consumer products, has only banned or restricted five chemicals, and the FDA, which regulates cosmetics and personal care products, has only banned or restricted 11. (In comparison, the European Union has banned or restricted over 1,100 chemicals for cosmetics alone.)

In many instances, even if products are harmful, agencies don’t have the ability to mandate recalls. All too often, companies are left to self-police and consumers pay the price. Shoppers in the U.S. are responsible for figuring out what’s safe and what’s not based on relatively little information. Without a degree in toxicology or chemistry it can be hard to make sense of labels.

In fact, this is why our seals exist. They are a guiding light in the darkness around toxic chemicals in consumer products. For the first time, people can find items that were made without known toxic chemicals across store aisles, from baby and bedding, to household products as well as personal care and cosmetics. Our goal is to do the hard-work and the homework for you. We work under NDA with companies and use a scientific process to determine whether or not ingredients and, ultimately, products are considered MADE SAFE.

I think what you’re doing is fantastic! How can I support your efforts?

1) We’re a 501(c)3 and accept charitable donations.You can make an online donation here or mail your donation check to us directly at:

Nontoxic Certified
Attention: Gifts
PO Box 65
Irvington, NY 10533

Or, if you’d prefer to speak to someone about a gift in person, please contact us.

2) If you’re a shopper, buy MADE SAFE products! When you support companies making safe products without toxic chemicals, you’re using your economic power to help shift our entire economy to safe ingredients.

3) If you’re a company: Start working with us!

4) If you’re a retailer, work with us to establish shelf space for certified products or to create a sustainable buying and sourcing policy for your store.

5) If you’re a blogger, reporter, or writer, write about us! Contact us for a media kit, to arrange an interview, or for other information.

6) If you’re an agency or organization, partner with us! We have multiple partnership opportunities to reach mutual goals. Please contact us for more information.

Questions on Ingredients

Does MADE SAFE require that all ingredients are listed on certified products?

MADE SAFE insists on full ingredient disclosure for products. We believe shoppers have a right to know everything that’s in a product. We believe all ingredients – including fragrance, scent, flavor, and other sub-ingredients or allergens – should be listed on the label so that shoppers can make healthy choices. We believe that total and complete disclosure should be the new norm for safe and healthy products, which is why we require full disclosure of ALL fragrance ingredients for products undergoing certification. Our goal is to change the industry norm around ingredient secrecy.

We understand that some companies rely on confidential business information and trade secrets for protection. However, we also know that many companies, both large and small, have been fully disclosing ingredients for years without damage to their profits. We believe that full transparency can be accomplished without harm to a company’s bottom line—in fact, full transparency will increase consumer trust and confidence to increase profits.

MADE SAFE helps companies meet 100% ingredient transparency on labels so that everyone who uses MADE SAFE® certified products has access to ingredient information. We require disclosure because we know that companies making products from safe ingredients have nothing to hide. We know that ingredient integrity and access to ingredient and manufacturing information is increasingly important to consumers. Transparency fosters consumer trust in companies. At Made Safe, consumer trust is important to us so our program is based in science and independent research; we do all the hard work and homework so that people can fully trust certified products from the companies we work with.

What is “fragrance” and why is it an issue?

The word “fragrance” (aka “parfum”) is used as an umbrella term for a cocktail of natural essences and synthetic chemicals that make up product scents. Companies are legally allowed to keep individual fragrance ingredients secret because they’re deemed “confidential business information,” or “trade secrets.”

Unfortunately, many common fragrance ingredients can be toxic to human health. Phthalates have been linked to reproductive and developmental harm. Synthetic musks like galaxolide and tonalide are potential endocrine disruptors that don’t break down in our bodies or the environment and are commonly found in blood and breast milk.

The International Fragrance Association (IFRA), representing the world’s fragrance houses, has a published list of roughly 4,000 fragrance ingredients that lists chemicals and natural ingredients known to be used in fragrance. This is a helpful look into what goes into fragrance, but since fragrance ingredients aren’t required to be disclosed, consumers can be left guessing.

While IFRA is the public facing organization, The Research Institute for Fragrance Materials (RIFM), is the scientific organization that does the research IFRA uses to make their decisions on what ingredients are permitted. IFRA has a list of roughly 180+ ingredients that aren’t permitted in fragrance or have maximum levels of allowance based. IFRA’s list includes ingredients such as styrene (a carcinogen) and resorcinol (a known irritant and likely linked to endocrine disruption).

Other fragrance ingredients are parabens; although these are largely being phased out, common ones like methyl paraben and ethyl paraben are still found in products and are listed on Washington State’s Chemicals of High Concern to Children List.

In addition to chemicals linked to human health harm, some common fragrance ingredients are allergens. While not everyone reacts to allergens, people who are sensitive to them have a right to know if they’re used in products so they can avoid them.

It should also be noted that while some companies choose to follow IFRA’s rules, they aren’t mandatory in the United States and so some companies do not even adhere to IFRA’s guidelines as a starting point.

This is why, in addition to passing our screening process for ALL ingredients, sub-ingredients and so-called secret ingredients, MADE SAFE requires transparency. Some fragrance chemicals are merely considered “allergens”; however, if you have a particular allergy we believe it’s important for you to know if a product may contain that ingredient.

In short, without fragrance and full ingredient transparency, there’s no way for shoppers to know what’s actually inside of these fragrance or perfume catch-alls found on labels and in products. MADE SAFE proudly enforces fragrance and full ingredient transparency.

What is MADE SAFE’s stance on fragrance transparency?

We believe that transparency for fragrance, as well as other ingredients, is important. In addition to chemicals linked to human health harm, some common fragrance ingredients are allergens. While not everyone reacts to allergens, people who are sensitive to them have a right to know if they’re used in products so they can avoid them.

MADE SAFE supports fragrance-free products as a consumer products option. We require companies to provide 100% transparency on ingredients so that individuals, knowing their own sensitivities, can make informed decisions on what to buy. Without transparency, there’s no way for consumers to know what’s actually inside of these fragrance or perfume/parfum/scent catch-alls found on labels and in products. MADE SAFE proudly enforces fragrance transparency.

Do flavors have the same issues as fragrance?

In the personal care and beauty product industry, flavor ingredients function a lot like fragrance ingredients. Many flavors are formulas acquired through traditional “fragrance houses.” Because the flavor formulas are considered intellectual property, to which fragrance houses own the rights, the formulas can legally be kept secret as confidential business information. This means that companies aren’t required to reveal the ingredients that actually make up that “flavor.” When you see the word “flavoring” (“natural” or otherwise) on packaging, look for a description of what that flavor is made of—otherwise it may be a cocktail of ingredients including synthetic chemicals, masking agents, flavor enhancers, dyes and more.

As with fragrance, MADE SAFE requires transparency of flavor ingredients so that people can make informed buying decisions. We also encourage companies to make flavor-free products for those who want to forego flavor altogether.

Without flavor and full ingredient transparency, there’s no way for shoppers to know what’s actually inside of these so-called “flavor” ingredients found on labels and in products. MADE SAFE proudly enforces flavor and full ingredient transparency.

Are essential oils safe?

MADE SAFE permits the use of essential oil ingredients for scent after we have vetted them through our process. While essential oils may seem simple – they are oils made from plants – they are actually highly complex ingredients made up of many naturally-occurring subcomponents. While for some people that may make essential oils a poor choice, for most individuals the whole plant boosts overall health, as they contain beneficial ingredients like antioxidants. Essential oils, in their whole, unadulterated form, have been known to have incredible potency and beneficial properties when used properly.

MADE SAFE generally permits essential oils, although some of those essential oils may contain sub-ingredients which are allergens, because not everyone reacts to allergens. We require transparency so that people with particular allergies or sensitivities are able to shop with a full understanding of what is in their products.

We also have a fragrance-free area for people to shop for MADE SAFE certified products that contain no scent or essential oil ingredients. We ask our companies to consider making fragrance-free versions of their MADE SAFE products so that more people can have access to MADE SAFE products if they can’t tolerate any kind of scent.

Why does MADE SAFE permit some essential oils that can contain allergens?

Essential oils are extracted from plants. When intact as a whole extract, the essential oil can be very potent and should always be used according to manufacturers’ guidelines. The extracts themselves can contain sub-ingredients that, for some people, may be allergenic which may make essential oils a poor choice for those people. However, for most individuals, the whole plant boosts overall health, as they contain beneficial ingredients like antioxidants. Essential oils as a whole have been known to have incredible potency and beneficial properties when used properly.

MADE SAFE also requires transparency so that people with particular allergies or sensitivities are able to shop with a full understanding of what is in their products. Each essential oil must go through our rigorous evaluation process in order to determine whether that ingredient passes.

We also have a fragrance-free area for people to shop for MADE SAFE certified products that contain no scent or essential oil ingredients. We ask our companies to consider making fragrance-free versions of their MADE SAFE products so that more people can have access to MADE SAFE products if they can’t tolerate any kind of scent.

Are there harmful ingredients in some essential oils?

Essential oils are highly concentrated compounds derived from plant oils. Many plants themselves, and therefore essential oils, can contain some harmful ingredients if evaluated on their own. However, when approached and reviewed as a whole, they are considered safe for use when used properly. In fact, some researchers believe these harmful compounds may actually be part of what keeps a plant healthy in the wild. For the majority of people, naturally-derived essential oils (not oils derived from plants grown in a lab, but those that have evolved over time) contain many more powerful ingredients that promote health than they do ingredients that take away from it. To learn more about this, read this article.

MADE SAFE always urges users to follow usage guidelines provided with your essential oils and essential oil products and to consult an expert before making your own blends.

What’s the difference between an essential oil, concrete, absolute, and extract?

Essential oils have been pressed or steam-distilled from aromatic plants directly. This method for extraction, usually used in making skincare or therapeutic products, is non-chemical in nature. However, there are other ways to extract scent and aroma from plants. The strongest form is an absolute, which uses a chemical (often hexane) as a method for extraction and yields a higher-potency, longer-lasting scent, which makes this method more commonly used for perfumery. To make an absolute, one extracts with a chemical and yields a waxy substance often called a concrete. This can be used on its own or it can then be further extracted from to yield the absolute. CO2 extraction methods are popular as they can be used for essential oils and absolutes without using a petrochemical process and occur at low temperatures, making them good for skincare and therapeutic use alike. Extracts can be pressed from plants after soaking in a base such as oil. It is important to know if things are added to extracts such as preservatives or other additives.

Is natural fragrance better than synthetic fragrance?

MADE SAFE is not against synthetic fragrance as a matter of policy. We are aware that many known synthetic fragrance ingredients have been found to be allergens and some are endocrine-disrupting chemicals. However, we defer to our Screening Process to determine each and every ingredient. Thus, if a synthetic ingredient can pass our screen and meet our standards as not being known to harm human health or ecosystems, we will permit it.

I have MCS / I’m sensitive to all kinds of fragrance. What do you suggest?

We know that while lots of people like to find safer scents, there are just as many people who are sensitive to fragrance. Which is why we’re excited that MADE SAFE lists certified fragrance-free products here.

Fragrance is a tricky thing. Some people are allergic to certain essential oils. Sometimes even products that claim to be unscented can contain fragrance ingredients. In short, sometimes you just want the assurance that a product doesn’t contain ANY fragrance, which is why a third-party certification like MADE SAFE is helpful. We also encourage companies to make fragrance-free options for people sensitive to scent ingredients.

Is there a difference between plant-derived ingredients and “identical” ingredients made in a lab?

The honest answer is that the scientific community is unsure. Some scientists argue that when something appears to be chemically identical to a natural substance, it will behave in the body and environment in the same way that the natural substance behaves. However, other scientists assert that synthetic substances have the ability to behave differently. At MADE SAFE, we defer to our screening process, evaluating all substances individually—whether synthetic or natural—in order to make determinations about their safety. If there is not enough information about an ingredient, we exercise the Precautionary Principle, and choose not to pass the ingredient until there is sufficient evidence of safety.

Do all synthetic ingredients fail the MADE SAFE screening process?

Just because something is made in a lab doesn’t mean we will fail it. All ingredients go through our process. Providing there isn’t reason to invoke the Precautionary Principle, if a synthetically-produced item can pass our rigorous screening, then it can be used as a MADE SAFE ingredient.

Are preservatives harmful?

In manufacturing products like personal care products, cosmetics, and cleaners, water is often a necessary component. Where there’s water in a product, preservatives are necessary to prevent the growth of yeast, mold, bacteria, fungi, and other microorganisms. In today’s global marketplace, we recognize that many products are expected to have a long shelf-life and last for months or years without degrading, separating or spoiling. Preservatives are necessary to keep products shelf-stable, as well as to prevent inadvertent contamination by the consumer during use.

Most people want the performance of a good preservative, eliminating the need for refrigeration or tossing the product out after one use. The issue is that viable preservatives with zero human, environmental, or aquatic toxicity are in short supply and don’t always work in some mixtures for them to have complete coverage. This is why you’ll often see more than one preservative listed on a label, often a primary preservative and multiple boosters.

Preservatives can often be harsh and have a range of toxicity issues for humans or other animals in the ecosystem. For example, a common class of preservatives known generally as parabens are linked to increased risk of breast cancer. Methylchloroisothiazolinone, which is an isothiazolinone type of preservative, is incredibly toxic to aquatic life.

MADE SAFE is very careful about the preservatives we allow in certified products and adhere to our scientific process to make our determinations.

In products, using essential oils can be a good option because they have natural preservation properties. However, they don’t necessarily work as effectively in all types of products and may still need to be mixed with other preservatives depending on the formulation.

Many preservatives are controversial and some are problematic by the very nature of what they do. And yet most people would agree that we need products to be preserved and to last a reasonable length of time. In addition to looking for the MADE SAFE seal, we encourage consumers to try products with fewer preservatives and see what works best for them.

What is synthetic biology?

Synthetic biology is sometimes referred to as GMO 2.0. There is still much debate on the exact definition of synthetic biology. MADE SAFE believes that synthetic biology sits at the intersection of engineering, biotechnology, chemistry, and genetics. Synthetic biology, often called synbio, could hold great promise for the future and it could also be dangerous.

Without the evolutionary process or proper research to show long-term effects, synthetic biology-derived ingredients’ true impact on the ecosystem is presently unknown. The proponents of synthetic biology say that “synbio” materials are genetically identical to the real thing, and are therefore are often sold as “identical to real ones” grown in nature. However, we’d like to see more studies on how synbio ingredients will behave in the natural world before widely releasing them into the environment.

Unfortunately, hundreds of synthetic biology ingredients are already on the market, are being used widely, and are virtually unregulated. New synthetic biology ingredients are quickly hitting the market. We think more testing is needed, and so MADE SAFE sides with the Precautionary Principle, urging companies to act with caution until more testing is conducted.

We will continue to investigate whether or not synbio ingredients are considered MADE SAFE ingredients. Until then, we proceed cautiously and encourage moving the market away from these ingredients until more is known.

How does synthetic biology differ from GMOs?

Genetically modified organisms (GMO) are organisms that have been genetically engineered. This means the organism’s DNA has been manipulated through human intervention. It’s important to note that genetic modification is the result of artificial human intervention in the laboratory, as opposed to intervention through crossbreeding.

GMOs usually contain traces of GMO DNA in the material’s final form. This can be detected using laboratory testing. However, in synthetic biology, a material can be genetically manipulated in manufacturing, but the final product will not contain GMO DNA.

This is because in synthetic biology, scientists might use a GMO feedstock, grow it in the lab, and then use special genetic engineering techniques to alter the feedstock. This results in a final product will not contain GMO DNA, even though the feedstock was GMO. Scientists could also use non-GMO feedstock, but then splice or edit genes in production, but still no GMO DNA can be detected.

It is helpful to think of GMO as cutting and pasting DNA, then copying it. With some synthetic biology techniques, scientists do not simply cut and paste; instead, the genetic material is essentially “written” from scratch. In other techniques, scientists manipulate an organism to product a substance that it would not produce under normal conditions. There are also other techniques used in synthetic biology.

The nuance between synbio and GMO is why we require companies to prove certain high-risk ingredients are not derived through synthetic biology. This requires proof beyond a non-GMO certificate.

What are nanoparticles? Are they safe?

There is currently no scientific consensus on the size of particle which constitutes a nanoparticle. Generally, nanoparticles can be 1000 times smaller than the width of a human hair.

Nanoparticles are used in many different products from baby formula to cosmetics and sunscreen to packaging and more.

Despite nanoparticles becoming increasingly common across industries, they have not been properly assessed for human or environmental health effects, nor are they adequately regulated. As of 2017, the EPA has made some strides in regulation, requiring those companies that manufacture nanoparticles notify the EPA. This is a step in the right direction, but is not comprehensive regulation. The result is that numerous new and untested nanoparticle technologies are hitting the market at an unprecedented pace.

Researchers don’t quite understand the impacts nanoparticles could have on human health and the environment. However, because of their infinitesimally small size, nanoparticles may be more chemically reactive and therefore more bioavailable. The dramatic difference in size can also cause nanoparticles of a substance to behave differently than larger particles of the same substance.

Because of the uncertainty of the impacts of nanoparticles, at MADE SAFE, we exercise the Precautionary Principle and avoid them, until extensive scientific testing proves them to be safe.

Do you permit combinations of ingredients such as sodium benzoate and citric acid?

It has been reported that the combination of sodium benzoate (a common, food grade preservative) with citric acid can form a chemical reaction yielding the known carcinogen benzene. This is why the two ingredients are no longer found together in some sodas. We avoid the two in combination where the pH of the product is such that benzene could form in solution. At a neutral pH, this is not an issue for most personal care products. The MADE SAFE screening process investigates such nuances in ingredient combination and product formulation.

How can you be assured that the company is including all ingredients in the paper screening?

We work very closely with our companies. Companies who subject themselves to scrutiny that isn’t required by our government are heroic. They pay money to be screened because they believe in their products and are committed to changing the toxic status quo. Occasionally we find problems, and companies work diligently to resolve them so they can receive our seal. The companies that work with us are asked to disclose their ingredients fully to us and sign a binding agreement requiring them to do so. But they are also asked to fully disclose all of their ingredients for customers to see as well. We believe strongly in full transparency.

Questions on Certification & Screening

How can you be assured that the company has not changed its formulation over time?

We require that products be reviewed as formulations, ingredients, or supply chain changes occur. In addition, MADE SAFE products must undergo screening once every three years in order to ensure things haven’t changed without our knowledge.

Where did you source your list of toxicants for your database?

Our unique and comprehensive proprietary database was constructed for the express purpose of screening products to determine that contained ingredients are not known or suspected to cause human health harm. We have reviewed and scrutinized well-recognized, scientifically authoritative lists from organizations and government agencies around the world in order to ensure that our collective list is both accurate and complete. Sources of information include but are not limited to:

Simply put, we do not allow known behavioral toxins, carcinogens, developmental toxins, endocrine disruptors, fire retardants, heavy metals, neurotoxins, high risk pesticides / insecticides / herbicides, reproductive toxins, toxic solvents or harmful VOCs to be included in products that we certify. We also screen further looking for human health or environmental harm using the most conservative approach. If there is any question, we exercise the Precautionary Principle to prioritize human health.

I would like to see the list. Where can I find the database?

Our Ingredient Database is proprietary. We share its contents with companies, retailers, organizations, agencies, and scientists who sign an agreement to work with us. We have thousands of chemicals in our database and over time we plan to create an accessible format for general public use. In the meantime, if you’d like to work with us or support our work please contact us.

What is the cost of the MADE SAFE screening, and what is included?

We charge an annual fee to all companies who agree to work with us, which includes access to our Ingredient Database, participation in our Education, Advocacy, and Outreach work, event opportunities, and networking with our range of participating stakeholders. (Annual Fees are on a sliding scale and determined by a mix of things including gross revenue, number of products, company size, and countries where products are sold.) For screening, there is an additional per product fee. The screening fee covers review of ingredients, checks for likely contamination and supply chain issues, running ingredients through our Ingredient Database, as well as evaluating new ingredients for persistence, bioaccumulation, general, aquatic, and animal toxicity. It also covers the complete Screening Report companies receive with the data found on each ingredient reviewed. For specific information on how you can work with us please contact us here.

What is the MADE SAFE Nontoxic Certified™ process?

MADE SAFE Nontoxic Certified™ means that a product has passed MADE SAFE certification and gone on to be lab-tested to ensure that the accessible or used parts of an item or product have been tested and found it is not toxic. It’s about starting with a base of safe ingredients, yet going over and above through actual lab testing of ingredients to ensure that ingredient mixtures won’t cause harm. This is not the standard way of doing business today – however, it’s the best way to ensure that an item, in totality, as it is sold, is nontoxic. We believe Nontoxic Certification is the Gold Standard of product testing and the future of product formulation.

MADE SAFE Nontoxic Certified lab-tests products to ensure that no new toxins are formed in mixture, there’s no supply chain contamination, and to validate the screening in a lab environment. (NOTE: The type of product, what is accessible, the ultimate use as well as manufacturing determine what lab tests need to be performed.)

We recognize that this approach is novel. Most products aren’t manufactured with human health implications in mind. We are pioneers in an emerging field, and there is still much to be learned. We won’t always be perfect. But we have built programs that allow products to be vetted against some of the best information available today. We update our processes regularly. And the bottom line is that we prioritize people with every one of our decisions. We always come back to our core belief that the products we use on our bodies, for our children, in our homes and in our communities should be safe. Without external regulation of the thousands of chemicals in commerce today, the MADE SAFE programs provide a logical path toward a healthy product marketplace.

Do you work on a sliding scale?

We do work on a sliding scale. Annual fees are determined by revenue, number of products, company size and countries where products are sold. We’d love to talk with you to learn more and find a way to make our certification affordable for you. To get started working with us and request an estimate, please complete the form on this page.

How will certified products benefit from partnership?

Certified products will be promoted by us in the media, social media and through our education, advocacy and outreach campaigns. Our mission is to change the kind of products that are being made, to consciously shift share to better, safer products and to help consumers, companies and retailers navigate the problem of so many chemicals and ingredients in the marketplace. Certified companies will enjoy being a part of all of our efforts to further our mission as well as being confident that their products have been third-party vetted in a rigorous, scientific process.

How does your “seal of approval” compare to the other “eco” labels out there?

We are the only human health certification that crosses consumer product categories, across store aisles, from baby to personal care to household and beyond.

We work under NDA with companies and are are the most comprehensive certification, going beyond “red lists” to attempt to close data gaps by actually screening ingredients that have no publicly available data. We follow the Precautionary Principle: in cases where we can’t obtain enough data to determine that an ingredient won’t cause harm to human health, we don’t allow it in certified products.

We evaluate ingredients for bioaccumulation, environmental persistence, off-gassing as well as animal and aquatic toxicity.

We also uniquely work with companies during the research and development phase of formulation and reformulation to help develop safe and healthy products from the get-go. This is the future of green chemistry.

MADE SAFE makes it easy for people to find and buy products made without known toxic chemicals. We also give companies a road map to making safer products, and make it easy for retailers to select products that aren’t known to cause harm.

We are uniquely focused on creating a safe and sustainable future.

Why would a company with organic or other certifications pursue the MADE SAFE seal?

Organic certification is terrific! We think organic certification does a great job. That said, it is an agricultural standard, so the further companies are from agriculturally produced products, the less it specifically applies. Products that are USDA Organic or sourcing organic ingredients receive credit in our program as well. Many companies that we work with see the value in being both Organic and MADE SAFE certified, as we have a very specific mandate and approach to vet ingredients that are safe for use in our homes, with our children and on our bodies. Our approach is new and unlike any other program out there. It was created by and for Moms in order to protect our collective health for a safe and sustainable future.

Will you / Do you certify packaging?

We are currently working on our best practices requirements for packaging. Once they are complete we will be rolling them out widely. When you start to dig deep into how a product is formulated, you realize that what the product is wrapped in also matters. Sometimes it is important because the packaging itself can leach chemicals into your carefully crafted product; other times it’s a matter of environmental concern. Regardless, it is something that we believe deserves attention. Eventually we look forward to sharing our process for MADE SAFE Packaging with businesses around the globe.

“What is a durable good product and how is it assessed for MADE SAFE certification?

A durable good product is a consumer product that only needs to be purchased infrequently because it is designed to last. Durable good products include things like furniture, jewelry, mattresses, appliances, and toys.

When we evaluate a durable good product, we examine all components that are on/in the product that will be accessible through normal use following the manufacturer guidelines, and as it is expected to be used.

For example, to certify a mattress, we examine all components of that mattress, inside and out, because we want to be sure that those parts won’t contribute to off-gassing that could be harmful to health. When evaluating toys, strollers, and other goods, we are evaluating the parts of the products that come in contact with the user according to expectations of use. For example, if a stroller wheel is made from plastic and metal, we would defer to other governance and safety rules for those items because it doesn’t come into contact with the user. Our process would focus on the seat, cushion, and materials that the infant or child is regularly touching.

How are regrettable substitutions avoided with MADE SAFE?

As part of the MADE SAFE Screening Process, we investigate each ingredient and note whether it is similar to another substance. We use this information to assess whether or not a new, but similar, chemical is likely to cause harm and lead companies down the path of regrettable substitution.

What is the difference between a hazard-based approach and a risk-based approach?

MADE SAFE approaches screening differently than most other established screening and vetting programs: we use a hazard-based approach, rather than a risk-based approach. A risk-based approach says, “at what percentage or level can we use this ingredient before it’s toxic?” A hazard-based approach like ours says, “if an ingredient is toxic whatsoever, it shouldn’t be used.”

We always evaluate ingredients in accordance with the MADE SAFE Screening Process. We do not allow ingredients that are linked to human health or ecosystem harm. Our process is transparent and can be viewed here.

Why is MADE SAFE a Journey?

MADE SAFE is a journey, not just for companies devoted to making cleaner, healthier, more sustainable products, but also for consumers demanding them. It is important for people to understand that the performance of their products may come with a chemical trade-off. We want people to have access to the information they need to make decisions about their health, and choose which products they are willing or unwilling to compromise on. Made Safe is a huge leap forward to guiding consumers and the marketplace to strive for the safest, most sustainable products possible. We hope that you will join us and be part of the journey; vote with your dollars and buy MADE SAFE products to help bring more inventive solutions and ever-safer products to market.

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