The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Safer Choice Program is considering implementing a certification program for cleaning service providers who use Safer Choice and Design for the Environment (DfE) certified products for cleaning and related activities.
Earlier this month, an EPA representative made the announcement at the Safer Choice Summit. Safer Choice is a voluntary program operated by the EPA that helps household consumers and institutional purchasers identify cleaning and related products with a preferred environmental, safety, and health profile, and likewise for disinfectants under EPA’s DfE label.
One of the main drivers behind EPA’s consideration of a certification program is the potential for such a program to advance U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration’s social and environmental justice goals.
“A Safer Choice certification program for cleaning service providers has the potential to increase the use of safer and more environmentally benign cleaning products, thereby benefitting individual cleaning workers who are typically exposed to multiple harmful chemicals with adverse health impacts,” noted David Widawsky, EPA Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention division director.
Other benefits are likely to flow to cleaning service provider organizations from such a certification program, according to ISSA. These benefits include:
- Market differentiation for cleaning service providers looking to tap into the growing demand for green cleaning products and services
- Meeting the environmental and social governance goals of their institutional and industrial customers
- Increased business opportunities in the growing segment of household and institutional consumers who prefer environmentally preferable products and services
- Safer working conditions for the individuals responsible for cleaning.
ISSA has encouraged the EPA to keep the criteria for such a certification program simple and easily verifiable to encourage broad participation from the cleaning service provider community.
The EPA Safer Choice Program will continue to gather more information before announcing a more specific proposal for the cleaning service provider certification program that will address:
- Certification criteria and process
- Compliance monitoring
- Use of the Safer Choice logo.
The contemplated certification program for cleaning service providers would be open to contract cleaning organizations, residential cleaners, and in-house cleaning service providers. More information about the program will be forthcoming from the EPA in coming months.
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