Glossary of Terms
The Glossary of Terms calls attention to priority toxins to learn about and avoid as well as highlights some of the most popular terms in sustainability today. Covering topics such as chemicals, chemical families, sustainability buzzwords as well as product certifications, OsceaPedia’s Glossary of Terms is designed to save the Oscea community time in their journey of researching, learning, and understanding the world of sustainability so that they may shop more efficiently, more confidently and be able to hold their favorite brands to a higher standard.
Review this list of toxins and aim to avoid them when shopping and browsing material and ingredient labels. Our sustainability experts have prioritized this list of out of the nearly 85,000 plus chemicals on the market today. This short-list is a good starting point and avoiding them will yield the maximum positive impact on your life. Fortunately there are many ingredient and material alternatives available that do just as great of a job, if not better, without risking human health or environmental standards.
These are three common chemicals used as active ingredients in traditional sunscreens, as they are most efficient in providing broad-spectrum ultraviolet coverage protection. In addition, they are also prevalent in nail polish, hairspray and cosmetic products as a stabilizer. Their proposed concentration level in the EU ranges from 1.4 - 2.2%, while in the US, it ranges from 6-15%. All three chemicals have been proven to absorb quickly into skin after just one use. However, they are linked to a variety of health concerns including hormonal disruption and allergic reactions. Additionally, oxybenzone has a close relationship to coral bleaching, with studies finding that ocean oxybenzone disposal can cause severe coral damage.
These are man made chemicals used to make polycarbonate plastics and are seen in many household items such as food storage containers, PVC plastics and even baby bottles. They are mainly used in beverage containers, compact disks and plastic dinnerwares. This genotoxic chemical damages the male reproductive system as it has other endocrine disrupting properties. Oftentimes you see “BPA-free” on marketing and packaging, however, BPF, BPS or one of the other bisphenols could easily be used as a replacement that is equally as harmful.
Formaldehyde acts as an aqueous solution, which can also act as a preservative for corpses. It is also used as a disinfectant that can kill bacteria and fungus. Formaldehyde is found in many household items, from building materials to furniture. A large majority of furniture sold in America has a certain amount of formaldehyde emissions from various components, most notably glue, that effect indoor air quality. However, the exposure to it can have both short and long term effects. At short term exposure, it can cause respiratory problems and skin irritation. Long term, it has been named a cancer causing carcinogen by The International Agency for Research on Cancer.
Fragrance is a chemical group consisting of hundreds of chemicals that provides scent in cosmetics, skincare, candles, cleaning and commercial products. The most common ingredients include acetone, ethanol, synthetic musks and phthalates. The latter two are potentially hazardous compounds that can damage nerve system development and hormone functions. Fragrance is not regulated in the United States and product labels can list words like ‘fragrance’, ‘parfum’, or ‘perfume’ using them as a mask for hundreds of unregulated chemicals that do not need to be legally disclosed.
Lead is a heavy metal, with softer and malleable chemical qualities and played a crucial role in the development of the printing press. Today, lead is common in many everyday products including appliances, paint, ceramic dishes, glassware, and lipstick. In fact, about 61% of lipstick has lead as an ingredient. However, lead is known for its toxicity where it damages the nervous system and interferes with our enzymes, causing neurological disorders and brain damage. There is not a safe level of lead exposure, and this metal should be avoided at all costs.
Parabens are used as a chemical preservative in everything from personal care products to food. Products such as shampoos, moisturizers, shaving creams, tanning products often contain parabens as their ingredient. Parabens have been found in human tissue, blood and urine samples. They are linked to poor reproductive health in women, early puberty in girls and boys, and have even been associated with breast cancer.
Pesticides including herbicides, insecticides, fungicides are used in agriculture to spray & protect crops, plants and animals from being harmed by insects and other organisms. Examples of these chemicals include Glyphosate, Acephate, Deet, Propoxur, Metaldehyde, Boric Acid, Diazinon, Dursban, DDT, Malathion amongst many others. Consumption of pesticides and pesticide residue on our foods can lead to a buildup in the body of toxic substances and even lead to long term health issues such as various cancers and reproductive issues. Among different pesticides, consumption of glyphosate can increase cancer risk, especially for children. Eating organic is important when selecting food items, especially the ‘dirty dozen’.
Petroleum derived chemicals and oils are used in a variety of products including cosmetics, plastics, detergents, paints and more. There are both environmental and health concerns relating to exposure to petroleum. For example, burning petroleum is one of the largest contributors to the increase of CO2 in the atmosphere, causing global term-erasure increase. Exposure to petroleum can cause liver and kidney damage. Skin irritation and allergies can also result from over-exposure to petroleum
These “forever chemicals” are often used in waterproofing, wrinkle resistance and non-stick surfaces. They are in everything from baby strollers to outerwear and waterproof mascara to food packaging, and it is used as an industrial surfactant (a liquid that decreases frictions between two surfaces) in chemical processes which has led to industrial waste contributing to the contamination of our wildlife, water and air supplies. They remain in our blood, compounding overtime and are not detoxable. 98% of the tested American population had levels of PFOs in their blood. PFAS are found to be highly correlated with liver, testicular, and pancreatic cancer incidents. They decrease liver and kidney functionality, fertility, and are associated with thyroid disease. Oftentimes you see “PFOA-Free”, especially on items like pots and pans, however, PFOA is only one of 9,000 PFAS chemicals and the others in the family are just as detrimental to the environment and our bodies.
This group of chemicals including i(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP), diisodecyl phthalate, and diisononyl phthalate have detrimental effects on human health as they are known endocrine and reproductive disruptors. Most commonly found as plasticizers in plastic products (like PVC), personal care products and beauty products (like fragrance) amongst countless others, they are also often released into the environment, and can be easily consumed in diet, water and air supplies. High phthalate exposure is correlated with heart problems, causing about 100,000 premature deaths in the US annually. This chemical group is banned in the EU, but remains prevalent in the US.
Toluene is a colorless, water-insoluble liquid often found in paints, lacquers and even nail polishes. It is mostly used as an industrial solvent for paint thinners, permanent markers, and certain types of glues. Studies have shown that inhalation of toluene can cause tiredness, intoxication and dizziness. On the other hand, toluene has been known to cause liver and kidney damage. However, the toxicity of toluene is smaller than benzene, and it has been for recreational use before being banned by the US government in 2007.
Understanding the complexity and prevalence of some of the most dangerous chemical families is crucial in being able to change consumer behavior. Long-term and consistent daily exposures, even at low intervals or quantities, add up and accumulate overtime adding to your body’s toxic burden. Some chemicals you can detox from, others you can’t, and the difference is important to know before disease sets in. Vote with your dollars and avoid products that contain materials or ingredients from this list of chemical families.
A carcinogen is any substance that promotes the formation of cancer. Common carcinogens include tobacco, dioxins, asbestos, as well as some VOCs and heavy metals such as formaldehyde, benzene, and mercury amongst so many others. Carcinogens are in many everyday products from personal care products to home furniture and even processed meat and have the ability to damage or disrupt the process of cellular metabolism.
Common endocrine disruptors include phthalates, PFAs and PCBs. Endocrine disrupting chemicals are exactly what they sound like; they interfere with our endocrine system by disrupting hormones by mimicking, binding and blocking appropriate hormone releases, disturbing bodily homeostasis, and altering our physiological systems from birth to adulthood. They have been proven to cause various cancers, tumors, birth defects and other development disorders. Exposure starts as fetuses in utero, therefore early and chronic endocrine disruption exposure kills about 36 million people per year. We are exposed to thousands of endocrine disrupting chemicals everyday, ranging from applying fragrance, sunscreens or cosmetics, to consuming food and beverages that have packaging lined with plastics or waterproofing agents such as aluminum cans or plastic bottles. Food, especially, is the main mechanism by which people are exposed to endocrine disruptors. Highly contaminated fish products can have higher doses of endocrine disruptors from pollution, as these chemicals tend to be fat absorbent.
Heavy metals are defined as any metallic element with a much greater density than water. Although naturally occurring, even in our soil, these elements can be toxic to humans and the environment when overexposed. Examples of heavy metals include lead, mercury, arsenic and cadmium. Biologically, heavy metals can be essential to metabolism processes. However, over-exposure of these metals, whether through mining or consumption through food, personal care products, or daily kitchen & dining utensils is very dangerous. Heavy metals increase cancer risk in humans and contaminate the environment by accumulating in plants and animals.
Neurotoxins are toxins that can be destructive to our nervous system, having adverse effects on brain development and neurological structure. Common neurotoxins include mold, ethanol, glutamate, and lead as well as other heavy metals. These toxins can be found in the home where water accumulates like bathrooms or around appliances as well as in foods such as coffee, fish produce, fish oil and even cheese. Neurotoxins can cause headaches, vision loss and brain damage to the human body. It is important to reduce the long-term exposure to potential neurotoxin sources as they have been linked to other central nervous system disorders such as Parkinson’s Disease, Multiple Sclerosis, and Dementia.
Volatile Organic Compounds, such as benzene, formaldehyde, ethylene glycol and toluene, amongst many others, are used in products to build and maintain a home including paints, building materials and furniture. VOC’s emit gasses into the air during use and can remain in the air and even react with other gases, contaminating indoor air quality. Some VOCs can cause cancer and most irritate your airways. Studies have found that exposure to VOCs can cause toxic absorbance in the body, allergies and inflammation. Human-activity induced VOCs are heavily regulated by laws as they usually have the highest concentration.
Unlike ‘fast fashion’, Sustainable Fashion is considered ‘slow fashion’ and promotes conscious and ethical environmental practices in regards to the sourcing and production of clothing, accessories, shoes and textiles. Sustainable fashion minimizes waste, reduces the use of synthetic fibers, and promotes fair working conditions and wages.LEARN MORE
Clean Beauty promotes cosmetic and personal care products free from carcinogens, heavy metals, and endocrine disrupting chemicals. Clean beauty promotes less packaging waste, less toxic water runoff, and cruelty-free processes and products.LEARN MORE
Organic Wellness promotes healthy lifestyle choices by reducing harmful chemical exposure from everyday lifestyle products. Organic wellness focuses on an integrative approach to wellbeing by incorporating holistic health, sexual health, and mental health practices while stressing an organic diet and healthy exercise routine.LEARN MORE
An Eco-Home is your personal oasis free from toxic chemicals used in common furniture, paints, appliances, cleaning products and everyday gadgets. An eco-home uses less energy and produces less waste than typical homes.LEARN MORE
A Non-Toxic Nursery sets the tone for a healthy and sustainable path towards raising a baby. Babies will spend up to 16 hours a day sleeping in their nursery (up until toddler years) and it is crucial to make sure the air quality, furnishings, bedding, gadgets and gear used will not be harmful or add to the toxic burden a baby’s small body must manage living in our world. Additionally, paying close attention to the textiles and bath products that come into close contact with a baby’s delicate skin is also of importance in the non-toxic nursery.COMING SOON
With sustainability gaining popularity in recent years, along with it has come various terms that are often misunderstood or misused. Below is a list of the most commonly used ‘buzzwords’ in sustainability today. With quick access and easy to read definitions, you will be caught up to speed in no time! For those who are interested in doing a deep dive, click through to read the full articles.
The term “biodegradable” is the natural breakdown process of organic matter into smaller particles such as gasses, sugars, and other compounds found in nature by microorganisms including bacteria and fungi. Materials that decompose include plant products such as paper, wood, and natural fiber textiles, as well as food, human and animal waste and dead organisms. Many companies are now using biodegradable plastics which are advocated for being eco-friendly. The problem is biodegradable plastics have complex chemical structures that microorganisms cannot always break down and also require large amounts of energy to do so. Furthermore, in order to break down further, a set of strict environmental conditions are required such as pH, temperature, oxygen levels and more.
See also: Composting
A carbon footprint refers to the amount of greenhouse gases (CO2 and NO) generated by our actions. In 2014, the World Bank estimated that the annual carbon footprint per person was about 5 tonnes, and the average carbon footprint for a US citizen is 16 tonnes. Increasing carbon footprint is one of the main culprits for global warming, as CO2 and NO are all contributors to this. The bright side is, our carbon footprints can be reduced by our daily actions such as consuming less meat and less leather products, buying less products in general, and reusing and upcycling what we already have.
This term does not mean carbon-free, it means the amount of CO2 emissions produced balances out the amount of CO2 the company removes from the environment. These are terms companies may use to market their products to a crowd looking for more sustainable options. While some companies promise to become carbon neutral at a further date, it is important to see proof and transparency from companies in an annual impact report. Some climate scientists believe that the idea of a net zero, “waste now, pay later” approach may not equate to better environmental performances in the future. Learn more about Net Zero and Carbon Neutral.
Composting is the process that takes biodegradable materials such as food scraps, coffee grounds, plant & yard waste, paper towels and napkins, tea bags, manure and other organic matter and adds it all together in a container to naturally assist in its breakdown process. The result of the mixture creates a nutrient-dense, rich fertilizer that helps nourish the health of soil. This process is an excellent alternative to organic material waste removal and also helps to reduce anaerobic methane emissions.
See also: Biodegradable
There are no legal definitions of “cruelty-free” and “not tested on animals” unless officially certified through a third party such as the Leaping Bunny Certification. Cruelty-free products are most prevalent in cosmetics, skincare and fashion and brands can label products as “not tested on animals”, when they may actually be misleading consumers. Having an overall final product that is not tested on animals does not mean that the individual ingredients that make up the product weren’t. There can be mistreatment of animals at any point during the sourcing and production process, since individual ingredients may still be tested on animals and oftentimes in foreign labs with lax laws and regulations.
Electric and magnetic fields are invisible energy sources commonly referred to as radiation. High frequency, ionizing EMF sources include sunlight, X-rays and Gamma rays and are some of the most prevalent EMF we encounter in our life. There is nothing intrinsically wrong with electromagnetic waves undetectable by human eyes. However, some examples of non-ionizing EMF sources including overexposure to household electronics, excessive cellphone and wifi usage, and consistently sitting with a laptop on your lap can cause high levels of DNA and cellular damage, including tumors and cancer, if not protected correctly. Since this is such a new topic that is still being studied, pregnant individuals and babies should avoid exposure to EMF radiation as much as possible.
Factory farmed fish is the practice of raising fish for human consumption in a man-made or altered body of water. The factory confines a high density of fish within a small container—-which is unnatural for species like salmon and tuna and often have higher instances of viral, bacterial and fungal diseases due to polluted water, shared pesticides, parasites and waste, as well as poor farming conditions. When consuming farmed fish, individuals can therefore eat such viruses, toxins as well cancer and fetal brain impairment-causing PCB’s (polychlorinated biphenyls) according to an EWG study. Since farmed fish do not eat naturally occurring algae and other freshwater fish, the nutrient profile is different, and arguably worse, than wild caught fish. Unfortunately the overwhelming majority of fish on the market and in grocery stores is factory farmed and the price difference between factory farmed and wild caught is significant.
This term refers to products that are traded with rigorous environmental, ethical, and social standards. It is an arrangement that helps companies and brands to achieve sustainable and equitable trade standards. Hence, it ensures safe working conditions and fair pay. Look for products that are officially certified with the ‘Fair Trade’ label as opposed to the blanket statement of being fair trade with no official certification or proof.
Greenwashing is a term used when a company or brand promotes a product as “green” or “sustainable” without any proof or evidence that it is actually environmentally conscious. Such companies spend more time and resources on marketing and targeting consumer groups without physically minimizing their environmental impact. An example is Volkswagen using a defect device on their emissions testing while their regular models were using up to 40 times allowed limits for certain pollutants. Signs of ‘greenwashing’ in everyday consumer products include overpackaging, using popular or trendy buzz words like “BPA-free”or “all-natural”, or irrelevant and fluffy langage like “eco-friendly” or “non-toxic” that don’t actually mean anything specific as well as terms like “organic” with no actual proof that it is or only a fraction of the overall content is made up of organic materials while the rest is toxic or synthetic.
The government has no legal definition of the term “Natural” with regards to “Natural Flavors” being listed on our food labels, therefore products including the “Natural Flavors” posted as either marketing text on packaging or listed as an ingredient on nutrition and ingredients label has absolutely no meaning, no accountability, and no proof it is healthy or safe. Theoretically, natural flavors should include spices, fruit and vegetables. However, any ingredient could be labeled as “Natural Flavors”, and many of them only contain excessive sugar, which is detrimental to American health standards.
The term “organic” means naturally occurring materials and products (such as foods, personal care ingredients, botanicals and natural fiber textiles) grown and produced without the use of toxic chemicals or synthetic pesticides and fertilizers. However, it is important to note that even with organic food, the USDA Organic Certification does not require zero synthetic pesticides, it requires “minimal” amounts, which means synthetic pesticides are most likely still used. The chances of cross contamination with organic crops and conventional crops is high as well as most farms grow both and many toxins live for extended periods of time in the soil and water tables; which is why the recent report on heavy metals and toxins found in certified organic baby food was a big concern. It should be noted that the term “organic” is still not federally regulated and may be used on the information panel of product’s packaging leading the term to be overused by the market to promote all sorts of products from home and clothes textiles to food and beauty products. Therefore, understanding the fundamentals and the complexities of the concept can help to distinguish true organic products from the others as well as knowing what certifications to look for on packaging.
Recycling refers to the process of converting waste products into new materials and objects. While America produced 292 million tonnes of solid waste (in 2018), of that, paper, glass, cardboard and metals tend to have an extended life and a significantly higher rate of actually getting recycled; far more than plastic which, in 2021, was less than 5%. In fact, most plastics that end up at a recycling facility are unable to be recycled due to contamination, having unrecyclable components attached or simply just being the wrong type of plastic. Of the meager 5% that does get recycled, it is important to note that the recycling process usually requires combustion and significant energy to be successful and the process degrades the recycled material to a lesser quality where it will likely not be able to be recycled again; ultimately ending up in a landfill anyway after its next use. Furthermore, companies started “Chemical Recycling” which sounds like a good alternative to filling landfills, but it has proved not to be. The NRDC found that chemical recycling does not actually recycle any plastic, it just incinerates plastic, producing mass amounts of hazardous waste and air pollutants. However, water recycling shows great potential. Many companies such as SUEZ, are considering increasing the percentage of recycled water into domestic use. An example of a successful water recycle system is in Singapore, where all domestic water is recycled back into the system.
See also: Upcycled
Ecosystems can be regenerative in the sense that they can restore and regrow itself back to local ecology after destruction and damage. For example, in regenerative farming, farmers practice the use of photosynthesis in plants to sequester carbon in the soil while improving soil health, crop yields, water resilience, and nutrient density. Similarly, regenerative fashion emphasizes businesses that enhance the health of socio-ecological systems (SES) in a co-evolutionary way, encouraging that clothing is made from natural materials and regenerative fibers. An example being that some companies prefer to use bamboo over tree wood as bamboo is able to regenerate a lot faster.
See also: Renewable
Renewables refer to the transition in our society from being carbon-intensive to being more sustainable. A circular economy is a framework which is fed by renewable resources; meaning that economic activities would be conducted in a way that does not impact our future relationship with the environment such as causing climate change, loss of biodiversity and ecosystem degradation. This process requires a lot of technological infrastructure and up-to-date waste management systems. For example, solar panels and windmills are renewable energy sources, compared with traditional coals and fossil fuels.
See also: Regenerative
Slow Fashion is a movement that promotes conscious, ethical and environmental practices in regards to the production of clothing and textiles. Slow Fashion takes an awareness-approach to fashion products, including an understanding of textiles, sourcing, manufacturing, and the entire product lifecycle from pre-production to post-consumption. Slow Fashion aims to respect people, the environment and animals. Conversely, Fast Fashion is extremely wasteful by creating a “throw-away” culture when it comes to our closet. Fast Fashion products are characterized as being trendy and affordable but with poor quality and little design originality. Fast Fashion not only creates monstrous amounts of textile waste, but also promotes unethical working conditions.
Where recycling requires destruction of the materials to create something new, upcycling creates something new out of the existing state of the materias, and often of higher value and purpose. It is also known as ‘creative repurposing’ and it requires significantly less energy than recycling. An example of upcycling would be taking old t-shirts and rather than throwing them away, cutting them into strips of fabrics and creating a blanket out of them.
See also: Recycled
Certifications and Organizations
This list of the most reputable third party certifications on the market are important tools to keep in your shopping arsenal. Since many Americans are left on their own to vet brands and products themselves, and with little help from federal regulators, third party certifications are the most practical way consumers are able to guarantee the products they are buying are labeled truthfully, displayed with transparency, kept to a higher standard, and are being held accountable to their claims. Look for the logos of these certifications on the packaging of products when shopping.
A company that is a Certified B Corporation makes a legal commitment to increase the standard for business performance, accountability and transparency for all stakeholders. It is important to note that their definition of ‘stakeholder’ is not limited to shareholders, but also employees, the community, the environment and the suppliers. A Certified B Corp needs to demonstrate high social and environmental performance by conducting an impact assessment and independent risk review. Public transparency is emphasized around the B Corp Lab’s standards, including more consideration to stakeholder interests, no prioritization of one stakeholder over another, and responding to as many stakeholders as possible. Also, companies are required to meet transparency requirements, including independent review of public records and recertification is required every three-years. Read more about Certified B Corp in our interview with the co-founder Bart Houlahan.
This important certification ensures a product at any stage of production, from full formulation to individual ingredients, was not tested on animals, caused harm or death to animals, or involved with animals in any way during the process. There are two main cruelty-free certifications including:
The Leaping Bunny Certification via CCIC is issued for companies which produce cosmetics, personal care and household products and are free from animal-testing. To get a Leaping Bunny Certificate, the company must implement a monitoring system for their own production and suppliers, allow an independent audit and keep to an annual recommitment. It keeps a single comprehensive standard for cruelty-free labeling, making it easier for consumers to shop for products that are cruelty-free. Furthermore, Leaping Bunny also has an international certification, via Cruelty Free International, that recognizes cruelty-free global products in the EU and UK.
Beauty Without Bunnies Program by PETA: PETA is a non-profit organization that exposes animal cruelty in laboratories, food industries and so on. They also lobby government agencies to impose fines or confiscate animals when animal-welfare laws are violated. It should be noted that the cruelty-free program by PETA only requires a written commitment from the company, and there are questions on whether such procedures can actually fulfill their cruelty-free aim or not.
This important cosmetic certification is labeled on products where 95% of plant ingredients are organic, packaging is recyclable, and the product is free from petrochemical ingredients including but not limited to perfumes, parabens, synthetic colorants, and phenoxyethanol. This certification also ensures that at least 20% of organic ingredients are present in the total formula and 10% for rinse-off products. Other factors like biodiversity and respectful production practices are also part of this certification.
This certification is for a product that went through rigorous screening by the EWG scientists including an extensive review of test data, ingredient safety reports and ingredient concentrations. The evaluation process runs for three months to ensure that a product meets the superior health standards; standards that are often higher than traditional federal agency (FDA, EPA etc.) standards. The evaluation process ensures products are free from various carcinogens, endocrine disruptors and allergens. EWG currently has a user-friendly app for consumers to search for household products including personal care, cosmetics, household cleaning and foods.
The Fair Trade certification means the product comes from a company who meets rigorous standards for safe and ethical working conditions, environmental impact, and creates sustainable livelihoods for workers and consumers. The Fair Trade certification aims to secure higher wages for laborers, improve the social and environmental standards during production, and enforce strict safety requirements and hazard protections. For example, in agriculture, on top of the wages farmers earn for their products or labor, they receive an extra sum of money to invest in their communities, local businesses and other ways to improve the overall quality of their lives. This extra sum of money is called the Fairtrade Premium. For example, cocoa farmers receive an extra $200 per tonne of cocoa beans they sell.
This certification guarantees that the product is free from fragrance chemicals or masking scents such as musks. This is important, as fragrance is our top chemical group we aim to avoid. These ‘Fragrance-Free’ products also meet other environmental and human health guidelines, including toxicity and hazard-limit requirements by the EPA.
This certification is given to natural fiber products including cotton, linen, silk, cashmere and wool. There are two types of organic cotton certifications with the first requiring a minimum 95% organic fibers and the second certification requiring 70% organic fibers, which is ideal for products like activewear including socks, underwear or leggings that have a synthetic stretch fabric added to them. The certification requires that the cultivation of natural fibers is done without harming people, soil, or the ecosystem. Furthermore, no synthetic pesticides, herbicides, or GMOs are allowed in the process. Look for the GOTS Organic Certification on your textiles & fabrics, more specifically, cotton products.
We can view the official eco-friendliness of our homes by considering LEED certifications. LEED ratings range from Certified, Silver, Gold to Platinum (the highest rating). The higher the certification level, the more energy-efficient a home is going to be, helping to reduce monthly energy bills, as well as reducing global greenhouse gas emissions. The rating is conducted by independent house reviews, which test everything from home insulation, number of light bulbs, water and electricity use, to the heating and cooling energy use. The only thing LEED does not take into account is the impact of having swimming pools or saunas in a house, which consumes a lot of energy in construction and maintenance.
The Oeko-Tex Standard 100 Certification tests for regulated and unregulated toxic chemicals in textiles and fabrics, and is updated once a year with additional chemicals. Common chemicals considered harmful to human health are tested by Oeko-Tex including azo dyes, formaldehyde, pentachlorophenol and cadmium amongst many others. Oftentimes what federal agencies like (EPA or FDA) consider to be safe quantities of toxins allowed in products are far higher than regulations by 3rd parties like Oeko-Tex. This certification is good for synthetic fabrics & materials like polyester. Besides Oeko-Tex Standard 100, there are several other certifications offered by Oeko-Tex including Made in Green by Oeko-Tex (formerly Oeko-Tex Standard 100plus), Leather Standard by Oeko-Tex, Eco Passport by Oeko-Tex (for chemicals used in textile production), and STeP by Oeko-Tex (for production facilities, formerly Oeko-Tex Standard 1000) as well as the Detox to Zero status report for production facilities.
This primary certification means a product only contains ingredients on the EPA’s Safer Chemical List, including polymers such as furandione and ethenylbenzene as well as limonene and dodecane in fragrance products, which have been proven to be safe per experimental data. For such fragrance products they can only earn the Safer Choice Certificate if their ingredients are all on the National Fragrances Association Transparency list (this list contains chemicals that are otherwise hidden by the term ‘fragrance’, ‘perfume’ or ‘parfum’ on labels). In this case, if the primary certification is obtained, then the product can earn the secondary certification of ‘Fragrance-Free’.
Look for the USDA Organic Certification on your food and beverage containers. The USDA organic certification ensures that agricultural produce and foods are made with relatively minimal toxic chemicals, synthetic pesticides and fertilizers. Additionally, it ensures that livestock animals for meat and dairy products are raised according to guidelines, including humane treatment, organic feeding and enough space to move.
For more information on various certifications available by product category read more here: Certifications for Fashion Products, Certifications for Beauty Products, and Certifications for Home Products.Return to top
Discover The Latest
EXPLORE RELATED ARTICLES
Bart Houlahan, Co-Founder of B Lab Global, sat down with Oscea to speak on the B Corp certification, the broader pursuit of business for good, and how you can make an impact.
Read more to gain a deeper understanding for organic skincare and the rich origin story to the Organic Skin Company brand that is authentically leaving our earth, and its people, healthier and more nourished in so many ways!
Jon Whelan, the director of the 2015 documentary Stink!, investigated several brands for the toxic chemicals found in the everyday consumer products they were selling here in the United States.
Acupuncturist Jason Salim, L.Ac. spoke with Oscea about his practice and explained the benefits and misconceptions around Traditional Chinese Medicine.