The EPA Has Made it Easier for Schools to Make Safer Choices

March 04, 2015

The EPA rebrands its Design for the Environment program to Safer Choice.

The EPA just made it easier for schools to make safer choices about the products they use to clean.

For the past 15 years, the EPA’s label for safer chemical products has been known as Design for the Environment (DfE). Products receiving that label were those “designed for the environment and recognized for safer chemistry,” the EPA said.

Healthy Schools Campaign has partnered with DfE since 2008 and we’ve relied heavily on their designations for safer and healthier products for recommendation in our green clean schools program. Along with Green Seal and ULE EcoLogo, DfE has played an important role in impacting how schools purchase safer products.

But the EPA recently realized the marketing of this important program could be a little simpler. With that in mind, the EPA embarked on a year-long process of collecting ideas and discussing new label options with stakeholders, including product manufacturers as well as environmental and health advocates. The result of those conversations is an easier-to-understand label: Safer Choice.

The EPA hopes this new brand will better convey the scientific rigor of EPA’s product evaluation and the benefits to people and the environment with a label that is easier to display on products, materials and in digital media. This will increase recognition of products bearing the label as well as encourage innovation and development of safer products.

The benefits of this rebranding are broad. The new label is a better visual, it’s easier to replicate, and it’s more consumer friendly. However, the messaging is also much clearer. There is nothing wrong with saying a product is “designed for the environment and recognized for safer chemistry,” but that is a fairly technical statement. Rather, asking schools to make a safer choice is simple, clear and much more to the point.

At HSC, our goal is to support the conditions for health in schools. In your school, that may mean supporting active play, improving nutrition or cleaning with products that don’t pollute the air. Whatever we do, one step we need to take is to make healthier and safer choices. The EPA is working to make those choices easier.

If you’re looking to clean your school with green products, you can find more information on our Green Clean Schools website.