Safer products for businesses

Learn how to find safer alternatives

Using products that contain toxic chemicals can put your workers and your business's reputation at risk. Switching to safer products can reduce:

  • Risk to your staff, customers, and the environment.
  • Your hazardous waste disposal costs.

We provide resources to help your business find safer products and reduce the use of hazardous chemicals.

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Are you a state agency or local government?

Learn more about green purchasing requirements and how to use Washington's Green Purchasing Guide to buy more environmentally friendly products.

How do you know if products have toxic chemicals?

Most products that contain toxic chemicals come with labels such as “Warning," "Poison," or "Danger," but not always. Check the safety data sheet (SDS) for a product as well.

Labels and SDS likely do not inform you of all the hazards of the chemicals in a product, but they are a helpful way to narrow down what products you may want to swap for something safer.

How do you find safer products?

The best way to find safer products is to find products that have been evaluated and certified by a reputable third-party. Here are our recommendations:

EPA’s Safer Choice and Design for the Environment (DfE)

The Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) Safer Choice program and Design for the Environment (DfE) program provide lists of products that are safer for the environment  and human health:

Cradle to Cradle certified products

The Cradle to Cradle certified products program provides a wide range of certified products that are less toxic, and environmentally, socially, and ethically responsible. They use a tiered system for products such as:

  • Cosmetics.
  • Building materials.
  • Office equipment and furniture.
  • Cleaners and chemicals.
  • Packaging.

GreenScreen certified

GreenScreen Certified has several standards for a range of products. They certify using a tiered system. Find GreenScreen Certified products such as:

EPEAT and TCO Certified (electronics and computers)

EPEAT registered products and TCO Certified products are electronics and computers that are certified to contain safer chemicals, such as safer flame retardants and plasticizers. These certifications also denote products that are more sustainable.

What if you can't find safer products?

There are many categories where certified products are less available. For these we recommend you contact our Safer Chemicals team or find resources that discuss and specify less toxic products such as the following:

Habitable (building materials)

Habitable (formerly Healthy Building Network) provides guidance and suggestions for safer building products in their Informed™ Product Guidance. Learn to reduce hazardous chemicals and find less toxic products for:

  • Insulatation and drywall.
  • Flooring and outdoor recreational turf.
  • Waterproofing and dampproofing materials.

San Francisco (SF) Approved product database

SF Approved provides a database of more environmentally friendly products you can use to replace more toxic items. The database is part of the City of San Francisco’s green purchasing program.

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Are there best practices for cleaning and sanitizing?

Yes! While removing hazardous chemicals is the best approach, you can also reduce exposure to toxic chemicals by following the best practices outlined in:

Training and education

We work with other organizations to offer webinars, in-person training, and other opportunities to build the skills you need to explore safer chemicals and products.

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