Greenaction - Environmentally Responsible Chemistry

How the EPA Safer Choice's Component-Based Review Compares with Other Product-Based Approaches


The following examples showcase some of the key benefits of EPA Safer Choice's component-based review and the extra measure of protection it often provides:

EPA Safer Choice uncovers chemicals of concern that can be masked by raw material blends or by dilution in water.  By focusing at the component level and on key inherent characteristics, Safer Choice is able to carefully scrutinize formulations and make meaningful calls on potential concerns.  For example, a surfactant that is acutely toxic to aquatic organisms and environmentally persistent can appear to pose a low concern when blended with other less toxic and less persistent surfactants.  Similarly, water, typically the largest percentage ingredient even in concentrates, can mask the effects of a hazardous chemical.

EPA Safer Choice spots negative synergies between product components.  These potentially dangerous chemical combinations, which occur with surprising frequency in cleaning products, pose concerns for both acute and longer-term effects.  For example, oxidizing agents, like hydrogen peroxide, can release the sensitizing potential of certain citrus fragrances; another example, mixing nitrogen-containing compounds with amines will create nitrosamines, potent carcinogens.

EPA Safer Choice uses its expert knowledge and predictive tools to supplement lists of chemicals of concern.  Few chemicals in commerce have been adequately tested, especially for chronic effects like cancer and developmental toxicity and thus lists of chemicals with these effects are partial at best.  Safer Choice uses its knowledge of the structural similarities between chemicals and its predictive models to flag product components with similar potential effects.

EPA Safer Choice screens all fragrances and dyes for chemicals that may pose serious health or environmental effects.  Some of the chemicals of most potential concern in cleaning products are those in fragrances and dyes.  Chemical ingredients in these classes include sensitizers, carcinogens, and environmentally toxic and persistent compounds.  Small quantities don’t necessarily mean small hazards: A person, once sensitized to a chemical, can have an allergic response even if exposed at minute levels.  Momar Greenaction products do not contain any dyes or perfumes.

EPA Safer Choice recommends safer substitutes for chemicals of concern.  Sustainability requires innovation and continuous improvement.  The Safer Choice program works directly with EPA’s Green Chemistry Specialists to identify and recommend safer chemicals to its formulator partners, continuously raising the bar and redefining the meaning of environmentally preferable products.  As new, greener technologies become available, Momar will incorporate those technologies into its Greenaction product line based on recommendations from the Safer Choice program.

To speak directly with an EPA contact about Momar's partnership with the Safer Choice Program, please email sommer.elizabeth@epamail.epa.gov or call 202.564.1065 and ask for Elizabeth Sommer.