We used these definitions for terms identified in the scoring criteria and findings of the fifth annual Who’s Minding the Store? Retailer Report Card. Many of these definitions were developed by the Chemical Footprint Project (CFP). We are adopting their definitions to promote greater alignment with CFP. We thank the CFP team for their work in developing many of these definitions.
Allergen: any substance that the immune system recognizes as a threat and attacks.
Article: an object that, during production, is given a special shape, surface or design, which determines its function to a greater degree than its chemical composition. The term “product” may refer to an article or a formulated product, depending on the context (see definition for “formulated product” below).
Beauty products of environmental justice concern (BPEJC): beauty and personal care products marketed primarily to people of color that may contain chemicals of high concern (CHCs), including but not limited to hair straightening treatments such as relaxers; and skin lightening, brightening, bleaching, and whitening creams, lotions, and soaps.
Beyond restricted material list (BRML): hazardous materials that are plastics of environmental health concern (PEHCs), identified by a company for management, reduction, elimination, or avoidance beyond legal requirements; that is, beyond legally restricted and reportable materials.
Beyond restricted substance list (BRSL): hazardous chemicals identified by a company for management, reduction, elimination, or avoidance beyond legal requirements; that is, beyond legally restricted and reportable substances. For plastics, this definition focuses on additives as opposed to the underlying material, such as for plastic resin types. For plastics, see also the definitions of “beyond restricted material list” above and “plastics of environmental health concern” below.
Chemical Footprint Project (CFP): an initiative for measuring corporate progress to safer chemicals. It provides a metric for benchmarking companies as they select safer alternatives and reduce their use of chemicals of high concern. The Chemical Footprint Project measures overall corporate chemicals management performance through a 19-question survey, scored to 100 points, that evaluates:
- Management Strategy (20 points)
- Chemical Inventory (30 points)
- Footprint Measurement (30 points)
- Public Disclosure and Verification (20 points)
Chemical Footprint Project (CFP) signatories: signatories of the CFP agree to:
- Encourage companies in their sphere of influence to participate in the CFP,
- Be listed on the CFP website, and
- Provide feedback on how to improve implementation of the CFP.
Chemicals of high concern (CHCs): substances that have any of the following properties: 1) persistent, bioaccumulative and toxic (PBT); 2) very persistent and very bioaccumulative (vPvB); 3) very persistent and toxic (vPT); 4) very bioaccumulative and toxic (vBT); 5) carcinogenic; 6) mutagenic; 7) reproductive or developmental toxicant; 8) endocrine disruptor; or 9) neurotoxicant. “Toxic” (T) includes both human toxicity and ecotoxicity.
Chemicals in products: chemicals that are intended or anticipated to be part of the finished product. Examples include dyes, silicone finishes, screen printing, inks, labels, flame retardants, a durable water repellent chemical formulation, or a chemical plasticizer added to a plastic product or component.
Collaborative processes to promote safer chemicals: examples of such initiatives include the Apparel and Footwear International RSL Management Group (AFIRM); the BizNGO Workgroup for Safer Chemicals and Sustainable Materials (BizNGO); ChemFORWARD; Green Chemistry & Commerce Council’s (GC3) Retailer Leadership Council (RLC); and the Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals (ZDHC) Program.
Credible third-party safer chemicals standards: include Cradle to Cradle (Gold level or above), EPEAT Gold, EWG Verified, GreenScreen Certified, Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS),* Green Seal (except when used to certify food ware that is likely treated with PFAS, under the current standard), Made Safe, OEKO-TEX,* and Safer Choice.
*Note: partial credit will be awarded for GOTS and OEKO-TEX certifications since they do not appear to go far enough to address all toxic flame retardants and PFAS as a class.
Disclosure: for purposes of rubric category 7, Transparency, this term is synonymous with “public disclosure,” meaning that information is available to the general public through means such as print media, the Internet/websites, annual progress and sustainability reports, investor and stakeholder meetings, or packaging. For purposes of rubric category 4, this term means that information was transmitted from supplier(s) to the retailer.
Food contact articles: items in direct contact with food or beverage, including food packaging and other items used during food processing and food preparation, such as disposable gloves, conveyor belts, plastic tubing, processing equipment, storage containers, and kitchenware.
Food contact chemicals: substances present in food contact materials and food contact articles that may reasonably be anticipated to migrate into a food product intended for human consumption. Also known as “indirect food additives.”
Food contact materials: the components of a food contact article in direct contact with food or beverage, including plastics, rubber, paper and paperboard, inks, adhesives, metals, etc.
Formulated product: a preparation or mixture of chemical substances that can be gaseous, liquid, or solid (e.g., paints, liquid cleaning products, adhesives, coatings, cosmetics, detergents, dyes, inks, or lubricants). This can be an intermediate product sold to another formulator, fabricator, or distributor, or a final product sold to a consumer or retailer.
Full chemical ingredient information:
For articles, including food contact articles, a company knows or discloses:
- 95% of the intentionally added substances by mass; and
- any known impurities that are both CHCs and present at 1,000 ppm (0.1%) or higher in a homogeneous material.
For formulated products, a company knows or discloses:
- 100% of the intentionally added substances by mass. Note – generic terms, such as those to describe fragrance ingredients, are not acceptable, and industry naming standards, as defined below, must be used; and
- any known impurities that are both CHCs and present at 100 parts per million (ppm) or higher in the formulation.
Generic material content: the general name of a material, such as steel, nylon fabric, adhesive, or type of plastic (e.g., polyethylene terephthalate (PET)). CAS# is not required.
Generic terms (for purposes of consumer ingredient transparency, #7): examples include fragrance, preservative, perfume, parfum, ink, and adhesive. These are not acceptable as part of “full chemical ingredient information.”
Green chemistry: the design of chemical products and processes that reduce or eliminate the use and generation of hazardous substances. See the 12 principles of green chemistry –https://www.epa.gov/greenchemistry/basics-green-chemistry#twelve.
GreenScreen® for Safer Chemicals: a method for comparative chemical hazard assessment (CHA) that can be used for identifying chemicals of high concern and safer alternatives. GreenScreen® considers 18 human and environmental health endpoints and can be used to evaluate the hazard of a single chemical or mixtures and polymeric materials. GreenScreen® uses a set of four benchmarks to screen out chemicals that are associated with adverse health and environmental impacts. Chemicals that do not pass through Benchmark-1 (BM-1) are deemed “chemicals of high concern” and should be avoided; chemicals at Benchmark-2 are categorized as usable, but efforts should be taken to find safer alternatives; Benchmark-3 chemicals are those with an improved environmental health and safety profile that could still be improved further; and chemicals that pass through all four benchmarks are considered safer chemicals and are therefore preferred.
GreenScreen® List Translator: an abbreviated version of the full GreenScreen® method that can be automated. It is based on the hazard lists that inform the GreenScreen® method. The GreenScreen® List Translator maps authoritative and screening hazard lists, including GHS country classifications, to GreenScreen® hazard classifications. The GreenScreen® List Translator can be accessed through tools such as Healthy Building Network’s Pharos Chemical and Material Library, a fee-for-service database. A score of GreenScreen List Translator-1 means the chemical meets one or more criteria for BM-1 and is most likely to receive that score after a full GreenScreen assessment.
Hazard (chemical): an inherent property of a substance having the potential to cause adverse effects when an organism, system, or population is exposed, based on its chemical or physical characteristics.
Hazard assessment: the process of determining under what exposure conditions (e.g., substance amount, frequency and route of exposure) a substance can cause adverse effects in a living system. Toxicology studies are used to identify the potential hazards of a substance by a specific exposure route (e.g., oral, dermal, inhalation) and the dose (amount) of substance required to cause an adverse effect.
Impurity: an unintended constituent, not intentionally added, present in a substance as manufactured. It may, for example, originate from the starting materials or be the result of secondary or incomplete reactions during the production process. This term includes non-intentionally added substances (NIAS), which are chemicals present in a food contact article but not added for a technical reason during the production process, as well as other contaminants and byproducts.
Industry naming standards for fragrances (for purposes of consumer ingredient transparency, rubric category 7): International Nomenclature Cosmetic Ingredient (INCI), International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC), Chemical Abstract Service (CAS), or Consumer Specialty Products Association (CSPA) Dictionary. Names according to one of these standards are distinct from generic terms, as defined above.
Manufacturing restricted substance list (MRSL): an MRSL differs from a BRSL because it restricts hazardous substances potentially used and discharged into the environment during manufacturing, not just substances that could be present in finished products. The MRSL takes into consideration both process and functional chemicals used to make products, as well as chemicals used to clean equipment and facilities. It addresses any chemical used within the four walls of a manufacturing facility.
Persistent, bioaccumulative and toxic substance (PBT): a chemical that is toxic, persists in the environment, and bioaccumulates in food chains and, thus, poses risks to human health and ecosystems.
Plastics of environmental health concern (PEHCs): virgin or recycled plastic materials that should especially be phased out due to the particular toxicity of the monomer, additives, and/or combustion byproducts, including:
- acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS),
- polycarbonate (PC),
- polysulfones (including polysulfone (PSU) and polyether sulfone (PES)),
- polystyrene (PS) (expanded),
- polystyrene (PS) (non-expanded),
- polyvinyl chloride (PVC),
- polyvinylidene chloride (PVDC),
- styrene butadiene rubber (SBR),
- any other plastic scoring a ‘0’ in the Clean Production Action Plastics Scorecard, and
- any other halogenated plastic, including brominated, chlorinated, and fluorinated polymers.
This list may be modified over time.
Ratings identifying a chemical as high hazard based on a scientifically robust and health protective methodology: for purposes of rubric category 5, Action, and aside from the relevant GreenScreen ratings, this includes Cradle to Cradle Certified Hazard ratings that are x-CMR, x-PBT, or banned.
Safer alternative: generally considered a chemical that, due to its inherent chemical and physical properties, exhibits a lower propensity to induce adverse effects in humans or animals than chemicals in current use. “Safer alternative” could also refer to a product whose materials were changed or that was re-designed, where the substitution(s) were made to eliminate the need for hazardous chemicals.
Safer chemicals policy: a statement setting up a broad framework for how a company manages chemicals in its materials, supply chains, products, packaging, and/or operations beyond what is required by regulation.
Third-party laboratory: an independent laboratory involved in a project, including chemical assessments, that is not biased to the results of the work and does not have any vested interest in the outcome of the work.
UL WERCSmart: a platform managed by the global safety certification company UL where suppliers report ingredients in products in line with retailers’ requirements or requests; when the reporting goes beyond regulatory compliance to assist the retailer implementing its safer chemicals policy, it becomes relevant to rubric category 4, Disclosure.