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Green Good Housekeeping Seal: Criteria for Cleaning and Beauty Products


Good Housekeeping
July 10th, 2012

For the Beauty and Cleaning product categories, a product that earns the Green Good Housekeeping Seal cannot contain certain harmful ingredients or any ozone-depleting compounds (ODCs) above 0.001%, produce volatile organic compounds (VOCs) above a certain threshold, or have been tested on animals within the last five years (unless required by government regulation).

Specifically, the exclusions for the Beauty and Cleaning product categories are:

  • Any product that has a pH of less than or equal to 2 or greater than or equal to 11.5
  • Any product that contains a substance listed as a Group 1 or 2A IARC carcinogen or under California Proposition 65 as causing reproductive and/or developmental toxicity at a weight of 0.001% or greater in a form that allows for a route of exposure in typical consumer use
  • Any product that contains any detectable amount of any of the following compounds:
  • Ethylene glycol monomethyl ether (CAS # 109-86-4)
  • Ethylene glycol monoethyl ether (CAS # 110-80-5)
  • Ethylene glycol monobutyl ether (CAS # 111-76-2)
  • Ethylene glycol monopropyl ether (CAS # 2807-30-9)
  • Alkylphenol ethoxylates (including nonylphenol, octylphenol, and their ethoxylates)
  • Ethylene diamine tetracetic acid, ethylene dinitrilotetracetic acid, or nitrilotriacetic acid, or the salts of these compounds
  • Halogenated organic solvents
  • Any product that does not meet California's Regulation for Reducing Volatile Organic Compound Emissions from Consumer Products
  • Any product that contains ozone depleting compound (ODC) ingredients at a weight of .001% or greater
  • Any product that has been tested on animals within five years of the application submission date (unless required by a government agency or regulation)

In addition, the detailed and lengthy Green Good Housekeeping Seal online application examines factors that affect the product's environmental impact including:

For a maximum of 5 points in Energy Efficiency, we:

  • Assess the use of energy efficient methods, including renewable energy in product manufacturing
  • Check for reduction of energy use in product manufacturing facilities vs. 2006
  • Review the temperature at which the final product is intended to be used (higher temperatures require more energy)

For a maximum of 5 points in Water Reduction, we review:

  • Reduction of water use in product manufacturing facilities vs. 2006

For a maximum of 15 points in Ingredient Safety and Potential Toxicity, we review:

  • Comparative hazard assessment of ingredients
  • Lab results for LD50 oral acute toxicity
  • Lab results for LD50 dermal acute toxicity
  • Lab results for LC50 inhalation acute toxicity
  • Toxicity reports, per the UN Globally Harmonized System for acute aquatic organism toxicity, skin irritation, eye irritation, skin sensitivity, and chronic target organ toxicity
  • pH level
  • Inclusion of IARC chemicals (carcinogens)
  • Inclusion of Prop 65 chemicals (which cause reproductive and developmental hazards)
  • Inclusion of EU category 1 chemicals (endocrine disruptors)

For a maximum of 15 points in Composition of Materials and Ingredients, we review:

  • Sources of materials and ingredients
  • Use of certified materials and ingredients
  • Use of recycled content in materials and ingredients
  • Inclusion of genetically modified organisms in materials and ingredients
  • Biodegradability of product
  • Eutrophication potential (cleaning products only)

For a maximum of 8 points in Volatile Organic Compounds, we review:

  • VOCs in the product
  • Compliance with VOC regulations

For a maximum of 13 points in Packaging, we review:

  • Weight of packaging
  • Sources of packaging materials
  • Use of certified materials in packaging
  • Use of recycled content in packaging
  • Inclusion of genetically modified organisms in packaging materials
  • Biodegradability of packaging
  • Use of PVC in packaging
  • Recyclability of packaging

For a maximum of 15 points in Greenhouse Gas Emissions, we review:

  • Greenhouse gas emissions from the product
  • Product's carbon footprint
  • Company's carbon footprint

For a maximum of 4 points in Waste Reduction, we review:

  • Reduction of industrial and hazardous waste in product manufacturing facilities as compared to 2006

For a maximum of 2 points in Product Distribution, we determine:

  • Environmentally responsible practices used in distribution of the product

For a maximum of 10 points in Corporate Responsibility, we:

  • Determine if a corporate responsibility report is publicly available
  • Determine if a corporate responsibility report is registered with the Global Reporting Initiative
  • Check for use of an Environmental Management System at product manufacturing facilities
  • Review any notices of violation for environmental noncompliance at product manufacturing facilities
  • Review LEED or Green Globe certification of company facilities
  • Review OSHA injury rates at product manufacturing facilities
  • Review use of renewable energy at nonmanufacturing company facilities
  • Check for SA8000 certification at product manufacturing facilities
  • Review percentage of company sales donated to charitable organizations

For a maximum of 5 points in Animal Testing, we:

  • Review the productís history of testing on animals

For a maximum of 3 points in Environmental Innovation, we review:

  • Creative approaches to reducing the environmental impact of the manufacturing or use of the product.