Q. How do you define “toxic,” “safe” and “harmful”?
Q. It’s hard to believe that the majority of the 84,000 chemicals in use today in the United States have not been tested for safety. What about the Food and Drug Administration, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Consumer Product Safety Commission?
Q. How can you be assured that the brand is including all ingredients in the paper screening?
Q. How can you be assured that the brand has not changed its formulation over time?
Q. Where did you source your list of toxicants for your database?
Q. I would like to see the list. Where can I find the database?
Q. What is the cost of the MADE SAFE screening, and what is included?
Q. What is the cost of the MADE SAFE Nontoxic Certification, and what is included?
Q. My company is very small but I would like to certify my products. How can I afford you? Do you work on a sliding scale?
Q. How will certified products benefit from partnership?
Q. How does your “seal of approval” compare to the other “eco” labels out there?
Q. Why would a company with an organic certification need/want to have your Seal of Approval?
Q. Will you/Do you certify packaging?
Q. I think what you’re doing is fantastic! How can I support your efforts?

Q. How do you define “toxic,” “safe” and “harmful”?

A. “Toxic” means that a product has been linked to human health harm: it has been shown to bioaccumulate, persist in the environment, or be generally or aquatically toxic in our screening process.

“Safe” means that ingredients are not known or suspected to cause human health harm as determined by scientifically recognized lists from around the world. In order to do this, our scientists and/or advisors analyze the materials, ingredients and chemical components of a product (as obtained through our required paper screening) to ensure it does not contain harmful ingredients or release vapors, gases, or by-products that could impact human health.

“Harmful” means that an ingredient has enough available data on how it harms human health to be added to one of the authoritative lists from agencies and organizations around the world that make up our Toxicant Database.

For more on what our seals mean, visit Our Seals: Defined page.



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Q. It’s hard to believe that the majority of the 84,000 chemicals in use today in the United States have not been tested for safety. What about the Food and Drug Administration, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Consumer Product Safety Commission?

A. Unfortunately, these government agencies don’t have the authority to truly protect the public from toxic chemicals by requiring safety testing. The EPA, which regulates most consumer products, has only banned or restricted five chemicals, and the FDA, which regulates cosmetics and personal care products, has only banned or restricted 11. (In comparison, the European Union has banned or restricted over 1,100 chemicals.) In many instances, even if products are harmful, the agencies don’t have the ability to mandate recalls. All too often, companies are left to self-police and consumers pay the price. This means that shoppers in the U.S. have had to bear the burden of figuring out what’s safe and what’s not, and most don’t have the requisite toxicology degree to ascertain whether something may cause harm to themselves or their families.

This is why our seals exist. They are a guiding light in the darkness around toxic chemicals in consumer products. For the first time, people can find items that were made without known toxic chemicals across store aisles, from baby and household products to personal care and cosmetics.



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Q. How can you be assured that the brand is including all ingredients in the paper screening?

A. We work very closely with our brands. Brands who subject themselves to testing that isn’t required by our government are heroic. They pay money to be screened because they believe in their products. Occasionally we find problems, and companies work diligently to resolve them so they can receive our seal. The companies that work with us are asked to disclose their ingredients fully to us and sign a binding agreement requiring them to do so. But they are also asked to fully disclose all of their ingredients for customers to see as well. We believe strongly in full transparency.



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Q. How can you be assured that the brand has not changed its formulation over time?

A. We require that products be reviewed as formulations, ingredients, or supply chain changes occur. In addition, MADE SAFE™ products must undergo screening once every three years, and MADE SAFE Nontoxic Certified™ products must undergo lab testing once every two years.



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Q. Where did you source your list of toxicants for your database?

A. Our unique and comprehensive proprietary database was constructed for the express purpose of screening products to determine that contained ingredients are not known or suspected to cause human health harm. We have reviewed and scrutinized well-recognized, scientifically authoritative lists from organizations and government agencies around the world in order to ensure that our collective list is both accurate and complete. Sources of information include but are not limited to:

Simply put, we do not allow known behavioral toxins, carcinogens, developmental toxins, endocrine disruptors, fire retardants, GMOs, heavy metals, neurotoxins, high risk pesticides / insecticides / herbicides, reproductive toxins, toxic solvents or harmful VOCs to be included in products that we certify. And if there is any question, we exercise the Precautionary Principle to prioritize human health.



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Q. I would like to see the list. Where can I find the database?

A. Our Toxicant Database is proprietary. We share its contents with companies, retailers, organizations, agencies, and scientists who sign an agreement to work with us. We have thousands of chemicals in our database & over time we plan to create an accessible format for general public use. To learn more, please contact Executive Director Amy Ziff at amy@madesafe.org.



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Q. What is the cost of the MADE SAFE screening, and what is included?

A. We charge an annual fee to all brands who agree to work with us, which includes access to our Toxicant Database, marketing and PR, and networking with our range of participating stakeholders. (Annual Fees are determined by revenue, number of products and company size.) For screening, there is an additional per product fee. This is to be repeated every three years or as formulations and supply chains change. The screening fee covers review of ingredients, checks for likely contamination and supply chain issues, running ingredients through our Toxicant Database, as well as screening ingredients for persistence, bioaccumulation, general and aquatic toxicity. It also covers the complete Screening Report brands receive with the data found on each ingredient reviewed.



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Q. What is the cost of the MADE SAFE Nontoxic Certification, and what is included?

A. We charge an annual fee to all brands who agree to work with us, which includes access to our Toxicant Database, marketing and PR, and networking with our range of participating stakeholders. (Annual Fees are determined by revenue and company size.) For MADE SAFE Nontoxic Certification, we outsource lab testing to a small set of laboratories, for a lab testing fee. This covers testing of the product in totality to ensure that no new toxins have formed in mixture, there is no supply chain contamination and to validate the screening in a lab environment. (Note: The type of product, ultimate use and manufacturing determine what lab tests need to be performed.)



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Q. My company is very small but I would like to certify my products. How can I afford you? Do you work on a sliding scale?

A. We do work on a sliding scale. Annual fees are determined by revenue, number of products and company size. We’d love to talk with you to learn more and find a way to make our certification affordable for you. Contact amy@madesafe.org for more information on working with us.



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Q. How will certified products benefit from partnership?

A. Certified products will be promoted by us in the media, social media and through our education and awareness campaigns. Our mission is to change the kind of products that are being made, to consciously shift share to better, safer products and to help consumers and retailers navigate the chemical conundrum. Certified brands will enjoy being a part of all of our efforts to further our mission as well as being confident that their products have been third party vetted in a rigorous, scientific process.]



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Q. How does your “seal of approval” compare to the other “eco” labels out there?

A. We are the only human health certification that crosses consumer product categories, across store aisles, from baby to personal care to household and beyond.

We are the most comprehensive certification, going beyond “red lists” to attempt to close data gaps by actually screening ingredients that have no publicly available data. We follow the Precautionary Principle: in cases where we can’t obtain enough data to determine that an ingredient won’t cause harm to human health, we don’t allow it in certified products.

We evaluate ingredients for concern for bioaccumulation, persistence, and general and aquatic toxicity. The gold standard MADE SAFE Nontoxic Certified seal is the only certification that lab tests products in totality, testing products to ensure that the mixture as a whole will not cause harm to human health.

We also uniquely work with companies during the research and development phase of formulation and reformulation to help develop safe and healthy products from the get-go. This is the future of green chemistry. Our seals makes it easy for people to find and buy products made without known toxic chemicals, give companies a road map to making safer products, and make it easy for retailers to select products that aren’t known to cause harm.


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Q. Why would a company with an organic certification need/want to have your Seal of Approval?

A. Organic certification is terrific! We think organic certification does a great job. That said, it is an agricultural standard, so the further companies are from agriculturally produced products, the less it specifically applies. Products that are USDA Organic or sourcing organic ingredients receive credit in our program as well. Many brands that we work with see the value in being both Organic and MADE SAFE or MADE SAFE Nontoxic Certified, as we have a very specific mandate and approach to vet ingredients that are safe for use in our homes, with our children and on our bodies.



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Q. Will you/Do you certify packaging?
A. We are currently working on our best practices requirements for packaging. Once they are complete we will be rolling them out widely. When you start to dig deep into how a product is formulated, you realize that what the product is wrapped in also matters. Sometimes it is important because the packaging itself can leach chemicals into your carefully crafted product; other times it’s a matter of environmental concern. Regardless, it is something that we believe deserves attention. Eventually we look forward to sharing our process for MADE SAFE Packaging with businesses around the globe.


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A. 1) We’re a 501(c)3 and accept charitable donations. You can make an online donation here or mail your donation check to us directly at:

Nontoxic Certified
Attention: Gifts
PO Box 65
Irvington, NY 10533

Or, if you’d prefer to speak to someone about a gift in person, please contact Executive Director and Founder Amy Ziff at amy@madesafe.org.

2) If you’re a shopper, buy MADE SAFE™ and MADE SAFE Nontoxic Certified™ products! When you support companies making safe products without toxic chemicals, you’re using your economic power to help shift our entire economy to safe ingredients.

3) If you’re a company, Get Certified with us!

4) If you’re a retailer, work with us to establish shelf space for certified products or to create a sustainable buying and sourcing policy for your store.

5) If you’re a blogger, reporter, or writer, write about us! Contact Cassidy Randall at cassidy@madesafe.org for a media kit, interview, or other information.

6) If you’re an agency or organization, partner with us! We have multiple partnership opportunities to reach mutual goals. Contact Cassidy Randall at cassidy@madesafe.org.
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