The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced on May 11, 2022, that it is launching a new, modern Design for the Environment (DfE) logo that will appear on antimicrobial products like disinfectants and sanitizers within the next year. EPA intends the DfE logo to help consumers and commercial buyers identify antimicrobial products that meet the health and safety standards of the typical pesticide registration process required by the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), as well as other rigorous criteria required by EPA. To qualify for the DfE logo, every ingredient in a product must meet a rigorous set of chemical and toxicological standards.
EPA states that it has seen a surge of engagement in the last few years from consumers, schools, and other organizations who want to know more about how products affect their health and the environment. According to EPA, the updated logo should make DfE-certified products easier for purchasers to find, which in turn will encourage companies to seek certification for their products.
DfE products meet criteria that evaluate human health and environmental effects, product performance, packaging, and ingredients. According to EPA, the requirements are intended to:
- Minimize any possible risks to human health by excluding ingredients that might have the potential to impact negatively young children, cause cancer, or have other negative effects;
- Further protect fish and other aquatic life;
- Minimize pollution of air or waterways and prevent harmful chemicals from being added to the land; and
- Ensure products have no unresolved compliance, enforcement, or efficacy issues.
EPA notes that it does not consider the logo to be an endorsement. Instead, similar to describing a pesticide as “EPA-registered” because EPA found it meets the FIFRA registration standard, the DfE logo indicates that EPA reviewed the product and that the product meets the FIFRA registration standard, as well as the standards for the DfE program. DfE certification provides an opportunity for companies to work toward their sustainability goals. EPA provides information on how registrants can obtain DfE certification.