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Reading cleaning products labels improves health, ecology
COURTESY PHOTO Cleaning chemicals can do the job and be good for the workers and the environment. Reading labels can make it simple to do.

It seems these days people read labels more than ever before, from supermarket shelves to racks of clothes at the department store.

Cleaning products, like those manufactured by Fuller Industries, are no different.

“Commercial and individual consumers are more conscious of what goes into the products they use on a daily basis,” said Joe Mann, Fuller vice president and general manager. “Every one of those labels is there because it needs to spell out for the end user just what they need to know about the product. It helps them in their decision-making, and it gives them a feeling of connection with the manufacturer of that product, who is providing relevant information.” 

Outside of allergy information on food packaging, it could be said there is no label more important than those that adorn commercial cleaning chemicals, Mann said. “Our labels must provide accurate ingredient labeling, as well as instructions for proper usage.”

Commercial cleaning chemicals are generally used by people for longer than household chemicals: After all, cleaning a restroom in a commercial building is a bigger job than cleaning a home bathroom, and there are probably more of them. Mopping an entry foyer to an office building is likely a daily occurrence. 

“Labels matter,” Mann said. “So when we can put someone else’s logo on our product label to help tell our story in a meaningful way, we do it.” 


EPA Safer Choice 

Products get the Safer Choice label because they are identified as an option for consumers and commercial buyers to choose products with safer chemical ingredients, without sacrificing cleaning performance or quality. The program is big, and it’s growing: More than 2,000 products are on the list. 

The Environmental Protection Agency used to call the program the Design for the Environment, or the “DfE,” label. The program got a reboot after the EPA conducted extensive industry and consumer research. 

“We voluntarily participate in the Safer Choice program,” he said. “As a leader in our industry, we have made substantial investment in researching and developing these formulations.”

Products must meet stringent criteria to earn the label, and it goes beyond ingredients: standards for performance, the pH of the product, the way it is packaged, and other considerations all play a role. 

The EPA uses strict safety criteria to review every ingredient, for the environment and human health, including carcinogenicity, reproductive/developmental toxicity, toxicity to aquatic life, and persistence in the environment.

The EPA audits the products carrying the label annually, to ensure the standards are retained. “The results speak for themselves: our products are safer and more sustainable,” he said.  

Green Seal 

A Green Seal label means a product is certified by Green Seal, a global nonprofit organization and leading ecolabel. Green Seal has maintained standards for health, sustainability, and product performance for more than 30 years, and helped to drive permanent shifts in the marketplace. 

“Through its Green Seal labeling, the organization has empowered consumers to make better purchasing decisions and rewarded innovators in industry,” Mann said. The certification program as well as other initiatives encourage development of sustainable products for facility cleaning that are safer to use, and to accelerate the adoption across the market. 

To get labeled with the Green Seal, products and services undergo a review process that ensures they meet rigorous performance, health, and environmental standards. The organization employs scientists and experts who validate that a product or service meets the science-based standards for certification. 

“That Green Seal certification helps buyers and consumers make healthier choices that are better for the environment,” he said. Purchasing policies used by more than 100 federal, state, and local government authorities specify Green Seal, and more than 33,000 products have met the standards set forth for performance, environment, and safety.  

“By offering a selection of EPA Safer Choice and Green Seal certified products to their customers, our distributors provide a choice that resonates on a several levels,” he said. Janitorial service companies may find their workers feel better about their jobs (and employers) after they switch to Safer Choice and Green Seal products.”

Those same companies can offer a premium service level to their commercial clients, using these Green Seal-certified and Safer Choice cleaning chemicals. Encourage your customers to explore the possibilities—they may be pleasantly surprised.