Reading Labels

Product labels sometimes can be confusing even for the most conscious buyers. It’s our goal to help you navigate the complexities and better understand what you’re really investing in.

What to Know

Green Flagswhat to look for: 

  • Ingredients are listed by concentration, so non-toxic ingredients listed first indicate less harmful products; for us and the environment

  • Products with minimal ingredients, which can be easier to understand and contain fewer additives 

  • The more understandable the ingredient names are—the better 

  • Pro tip: if the ingredient’s name is Latin, it is most likely of natural origins. If the name is in English, it can be a chemical compound, potentially harmful

 

Red Flagswhat to avoid

 

  • High concentrations of chemicals and additives

  • Products with terms like “fragrance” or “flavor” can contain hundreds of different chemicals in them—people are often allergic to the “fragrance” of a product but can have a hard time identifying what chemical it is they’re reacting to

  • Terms like “natural” as there is no formal regulation for what constitutes a product to be as such

Safety Data Sheets

Companies are required to provide Safety Data Sheets (SDSs) to communicate information on hazardous chemicals to consumers so they can make informed purchases. These sheets include the properties of each chemical, environmental and physical health hazards, and safety precautions for use. 

 

Here is what to pay attention to:

 

Identification 

Section I: Identification – Substance identification, recommended use, and supplier information

Section II: Hazardous Ingredients Identification – Hazards of chemicals presented and their appropriate warning information 

Understanding Chemical Names

Section III: Composition/Information on Ingredients – Identifying ingredients, substances, mixtures, and all chemicals (trade secrets are not required to be listed except in emergencies)

 Hazards and Responses

Section IV: First Aid Measures – Information on care for untrained responders to individuals exposed to chemicals

Section V: Firefighting Measures – Suitable ways to extinguish a fire caused by chemicals burning

Section VI: Accidental Release Measures – Responses to chemical spills, leaks, and releases

 Handling and Precautions

Section VII: Handling and Storage – Guidance on the safe handling and storage of chemicals

Section VIII: Exposure Controls/Personal Protection – Protocols and procedures for exposure as well as preventative protective measures