Finding safer products
As information about the dangers of hazardous chemicals grows and consumer demand for safer chemicals increases, more and more companies are looking for safer alternatives.
The amount of textiles, footwear, clothes and toys with green and toxic free labels is increasing. Retailers are also contributing with some choosing not to sell products containing substances of very high concern.
What and where you buy your products, is up to you. But, different product or eco-labels can help to guide you.
The EU Ecolabel logo makes it simple to know that a product or a service is both environmentally friendly and good quality. It’s easy to recognise and reliable.
To qualify for the EU Ecolabel, products have to comply with a tough set of criteria. These environmental criteria take the whole product life cycle into account - from the extraction of the raw materials to production, packaging and transport, right through to your use and then your recycling bin.
The label has been awarded to thousands of products in Europe. These include, for example, soaps and shampoos, baby clothes, paints and varnishes, electrical goods and furniture, as well as services, like hotels and campsites.
The EU Ecolabel tells you that:
- The textiles you buy are free from heavy metals, formaldehyde, azodyes and other dyes that could cause cancer, mutations or damage fertility.
- Shoes do not contain any cadmium or lead and exclude substances that are harmful to the environment and health when they are produced.
- Soaps, shampoos and hair conditioners meet strict limits for dangerous substances.
- Paints and varnishes do not contain heavy metals, cancer-causing or toxic substances.
- Electronics have been manufactured with minimised use of dangerous substances./
Nordic Swan Ecolabel
The Nordic Swan Ecolabel guarantees that products have fulfilled stringent environmental and climate criteria. It tells you that a product's impact on the environment has been assessed throughout its whole life cycle – from raw material to waste. It also sets criteria with regard to quality, health aspects and functionality.
- EU Ecolabel - European Commission
- Nordic Swan Ecolabel
- Ecolabels index
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What about safer alternatives?
EU chemicals legislation promotes the replacement of the most hazardous chemicals with safer ones. You can also have an impact on using safer alternatives or if substitution is not possible, reducing your exposure to the harmful ones.
Combined effects of chemicals
Chemicals are all around us but what happens to our health or the environment when the effects of individual substances are combined?