WASHINGTON – Environmental Working Group, a leading environmental health nonprofit known for its popular, user-friendly tools, launched its new verification program today to give consumers peace of mind at point of sale as they try to avoid toxic and potentially harmful chemicals and contaminants commonly found in consumer goods.
The EWG VERIFIED: For Your Health™ mark will help shoppers quickly and easily identify personal care products, including cosmetics, that meet EWG’s strictest standards while shopping in stores and online. Items bearing the mark must score in the “green” range in EWG’s Skin Deep® cosmetics database and meet additional criteria set by EWG scientists.
“For more than a decade, tens of millions of people have relied on Skin Deep® ratings to limit their exposure to ingredients that do not meet our rigorous standards, but are still found in cosmetics because of weak regulations,” said Ken Cook, EWG president and cofounder. “EWG VERIFIED™ goes beyond basic ingredient labels to hold companies on the cutting edge of making the healthiest products to an even higher standard.”
Cook added, “Our mark will make shopping even easier for overwhelmed consumers who want to quickly find a bottle of shampoo or a tube of toothpaste that is better for their health.”
EWG VERIFIED™ items must be free of substances on EWG’s “unacceptable” list and meet limits outlined in EWG’s “restricted” list. Ingredients on these lists have been banned or restricted by U.S. or international government agencies or other authoritative public health bodies, such as the World Health Organization. Companies seeking the EWG VERIFIED™ mark also have to fully disclose their products’ ingredients on their packaging and on their websites and follow good manufacturing practices.
“EWG VERIFIED™ will take awareness about chemicals in products to the next level by giving shoppers useful information from a team of scientists they have come to trust,” said Nneka Leiba, EWG deputy director of research. “Only products that include robust labels and meet our robust criteria, as opposed to minimal government standards, will be awarded our mark. We aim to spur the development of safer products in the marketplace.”
EWG’s popular tool Skin Deep® will continue to be a great resource for consumers who want to educate themselves about the chemicals they are putting on their body. Further, EWG hopes its new verification mark will build on the successes of Skin Deep® by encouraging more companies to reformulate their products to achieve top scores and move the marketplace to produce healthier products. EWG plans to expand EWG VERIFIED™ to include other goods, including household cleaners, food and more.
EWG VERIFIED™is part of EWG’s mission to increase transparency in the marketplace and shine a spotlight on the many weak standards that govern consumer products. For example, the U.S. government does not require safety testing of personal care items before they hit store shelves. Companies can use almost any ingredient – including potentially harmful ones – in their products.
“It’s not just personal care products that are poorly regulated, it is household cleaners, food, and a wide range of other goods,” Cook said. “It is our hope that products bearing the EWG VERIFIED™ mark will be available to consumers everywhere they shop to better inform their buying decisions.”
To kick off the effort, EWG is launching EWG VERIFIED™ with “founding member” companies Beautycounter and MyChelle Dermaceuticals.
“Beautycounter is mission-driven — we use a rigorous ingredient selection process to ensure we’re making safer, effective skin care and beauty products, while simultaneously working to move the market and policy toward cleaner, healthier ingredients,” said Gregg Renfrew, Beautycounter founder and CEO. “Early participation in the EWG VERIFIED™ program is in full alignment with who we are.”
“MyChelle is thrilled to join the EWG VERIFIED™ program,” said Kimberly Heathman, CMO of MyChelle Dermaceuticals. “For 15 years, we have focused on clean, conscious, and ethically sourced products with full transparency in ingredient labeling —complying with EWG’s strict standards and policies. As a part of this new initiative, we look forward to spreading this important message to consumers who look to EWG for information that empowers people to live healthier lives.”
EWG has teamed up with Healthy Lifestyle Brands, a licensing and brand management company, which is helping to manage the new verification program and connect companies with consumers looking for healthier products.
Companies interested in becoming an EWG VERIFIED™ member should go to: https://www.ewg.org/EWGVerified for more information.