U.S. EPA Design for the Environment (DfE) Safer Choice Labeling

  • Overview
  • Benefits
  • Why Work With NSF?
  • Review Process

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Design for the Environment (DfE) Safer Choice program recognizes products that meet stringent ingredient- and product-level criteria. DfE-labeled products do not contain chemicals of concern, such as known carcinogens or reproductive and developmental toxicants. Even minor product components, like dyes and fragrances, are screened for safety.

NSF is the largest third-party DfE Safer Choice reviewer of products. We perform ingredient-by-ingredient reviews of product formulations to screen for chemicals that may present serious health or environmental effects and recommend safer substitutes for chemicals of concern. Products for review include:

Cleaning products including:

  • All-purpose cleaners
  • Window cleaners
  • Tub/tile cleaners
  • Laundry detergents
  • Floor care products
  • Pet care products
  • Car care products
  • Hand soap
  • And more

Personal care products including:

  • Shaving creams
  • Body wash
  • Shampoos
  • Conditioner
  • Lotions
  • Face soaps
  • Cleansers
  • And more

Download a case study:

For more information about DfE product reviews or for a quote on services, call +1 734.476.2543 or email greenchemistry@nsf.org.

To find DfE Safer Choice labeled products, visit the DfE website.


When you see the DfE Safer Choice logo on a product, it means that all ingredients have been successfully screened for potential human health and environmental effects and the product meets all performance and packaging requirements. The DfE mark enables consumers to quickly identify and choose products that can help protect the environment and are safer for people and the planet. The DfE program includes:

  • A focus on product chemistry and identifying safer chemicals
  • Rigorous performance testing requirements that ensure the product performs but is also safer
  • Ingredient disclosure for consumers with all ingredients listed on the product label, on a company website listing or through an 800 number
  • On-site and desk audits (both triennially) conducted to ensure that products remain compliant
  • A program logo that allows purchasers and users to quickly identify safer products that do not sacrifice quality or performance

Why Work With NSF?

NSF Sustainability has been providing third-party reviews and services for businesses since 2006 and is the largest third-party reviewer for the DfE Safer Choice program. We provide fast, credible and cost-effective reviews against EPA’s rigorous criteria to ensure that ingredients meet the requirements of the program.

The NSF Sustainability team is ready to help you gain the competitive advantage of DfE Safer Choice labeling in the marketplace. We offer:

  • Reliable, consistent results with exceptional customer service
  • Full summaries of each ingredient profile including fate, ecotoxicity and human health concerns
  • Suggested alternatives to chemicals of concern
  • Proprietary ingredient reports directly to suppliers

Your product deserves recognition in the marketplace and NSF can help you achieve it.

Review Process

The DfE review process involves these steps:

  1. Your company submits an application to NSF. We send you a quote for the review process and a contract.
  2. To begin the DfE Safer Choice review, your company returns the signed quote and contract to NSF with the deposit.
  3. We review your product(s) against the DfE criteria and provide feedback.
  4. We forward all supporting information of your product(s) to DfE for final approval and recognition in the DfE Safer Choice program.
  5. Once all the reviews are complete, and if your product is approved, your company signs a three-year partnership agreement with DfE and is granted DfE Safer Choice recognition. DfE will list your products on its website.
  6. We schedule annual audits and notify you of renewal of your product review(s).

Contact NSF International

  • Or contact the nearest NSF location
  • [x] Close

See all related news

Sustainability and Environment Mailing List

Receive NSF sustainability updates.

View Mailing List Archives