New Standards Developed for ‘Natural’ Cleaning Products


The personal care industry has long demanded stricter standards for products labeled “natural,” and in February, the Natural Products Association (NPA), the group representing retailers and manufacturers including Whole Foods and Clorox Co., has released new standards for home-care products.

These include household cleaners for bathrooms and kitchen countertops and laundry detergents.  Up until now, there has been no definition of the term “natural” within the home-care products industry.

Daniel Fabricant, NPA vice president of scientific and regulatory affairs, has been quoted as saying that many so-called natural cleaning products contain largely synthetic ingredients.  And consumers are already confused about what makes products natural as well as organic.

The Natural Certification Program and Seal of Approval was developed for products that meet the NPA’s new guidelines.  In May 2008, the NPA created standards and a seal for natural personal care products such as shampoos, moisturizers, and lotions.  More than 340 products have been reviewed and have been certified by the NPA.

In order to display the Natural Home Care Seal, home-care product manufacturers must meet specific criteria, including making certain their products contain at least 95 percent truly natural ingredients derived from natural sources, with the exception of water.  The products must not contain any ingredients that have any suspected health risks, such as residues of heavy metals or other ingredients not approved by the FDA or the EPA; or have any ingredients that adversely affect the natural ingredients.

Natural home-care products must also contain ingredients that come from a natural source such as flora, fauna, or mineral and don’t use synthetic or harsh chemicals.  And to meet the NPA criteria, natural home-care products may only contain non-natural ingredients when viable natural ingredients are unavailable and there are no suspected risks to human health.  Product manufacturers must provide transparency and full disclosure of ingredients.

The NPA standards were developed by a team of scientists and industry experts as well as manufacturers and retailers of green products including Seventh Generation and Clorox Greenworks.  The standards will be officially reviewed between now and 2012.

Article by Julie Mitchell appearing courtesy Celsias.

About Author

Walter’s contributions to CleanTechies over the past 4 years have been instrumental in growing the publications social media channels via his ongoing editorial and data driven strategies. He is the founder and managing director of Sunflower Tax, a renewable energy tax and finance consultancy based in San Diego, California. Active in the San Diego clean technology community, participating in events sponsored by CleanTech San Diego, EcoTopics, and Cleantech Open San Diego, Walter has also been a presenter at numerous California Center for Sustainability (CCSE) programs. He currently serves as an adjunct professor at the University of San Diego School of Law where he teaches a course on energy taxation and policy.