Environmental health non-profit Environmental Working Group (EWG) has launched its new verification program to help consumers quickly and easily identify consumer goods that do not contain toxic ingredients. The EWG VERIFIED: For Your Health™ mark will appear on personal care products and cosmetics that meet criteria set by EWG scientists.
EWG expects the mark to help shoppers discern which products are free of toxic and potentially harmful chemicals and contaminants more easily, at the point of sale. It will indicate that a product scores in the “green” range in EWG’s Skin Deep® cosmetics database, meets the limits of EWG’s “restricted” list of substances, and does not contain any substances on EWG’s “unacceptable” list. The lists are based on bans and restrictions by government agencies in the U.S. and abroad, or based on recommendations from authoritative public health bodies, such as the World Health Organization. Verified products are required to disclose all ingredients on their packaging and company websites, as well as follow “good manufacturing processes.”
“Our mark will make shopping even easier for overwhelmed consumers who want to quickly find a bottle of shampoo or a tube of toothpaste that is better for their health,” said Ken Cook, EWG president and cofounder.
The EWG team hopes that the new verification will encourage more companies to reformulate their products. Pressure created by EWG and organizations such as Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families has pushed many a brand and retailer to make healthier products or enforce stricter requirements. Just last month, Target expanded its sustainable product standard to include over 1,000 toxic chemicals and began testing category-specific criteria.
“EWG VERIFIED™ will take awareness about chemicals in products to the next level by giving shoppers useful information from a team of scientists they have come to trust,” said Nneka Leiba, EWG deputy director of research. “Only products that include robust labels and meet our robust criteria, as opposed to minimal government standards, will be awarded our mark. We aim to spur the development of safer products in the marketplace.”
Beautycounter and MyChelle Dermaceuticals were the first companies to join the verification program. Both companies have a history of rigorous ingredient selection processes.
EWG plans to expand the verification to include other goods, including household cleaners, food, and more.
“It’s not just personal care products that are poorly regulated, it is household cleaners, food, and a wide range of other goods,” Cook explained. “It is our hope that products bearing the EWG VERIFIED™ mark will be available to consumers everywhere they shop to better inform their buying decisions.”