What Does “Non-Toxic” on a Label Mean?

“Non-toxic” is a marketing term used to describe many household cleaners. What exactly does it mean and is it protecting us? Should consumers trust the term or go further and check ingredients?

Many if not most substances have not been tested sufficiently to know whether they cause cancer or adverse effects on development, reproduction, or the nervous system in humans and CPSC does not require manufacturers to conduct testing.

many if not most substances have not been tested sufficiently to know whether they cause cancer or adverse effects on development, reproduction, or the nervous system in humans and CPSC does not require manufacturers to conduct testing

Greenerchoices.org is a web tool designed by the creators of Consumer Reports. Its mission is to inform, engage, and empower consumers about environmentally-friendly products and practices. GreenerChoices.org offers an accessible, reliable, and practical source of information on buying “greener” products that have minimal environmental impact and meet personal needs.

How meaningful is the label?
I searched the term “non-toxic” and found this description.

“Non-toxic” is not meaningful and can be misleading. There is no definition or standard used for judging whether a consumer product or its ingredients are “non-toxic,” and no assurance that such a claim has been independently verified. A product that does not meet the definition of “toxic” according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission should not necessarily be considered non-toxic.”

A visit to GreenerChoices.org’s explanation about this term is well worth a visit. There, we can learn about regulations, testing and the reasons why they report:

“while many substances would not meet the definition of “toxic” according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), we do not know with certainty that they are “non-toxic.”

Another helpful resource is Greenerchoices.org’s label report cards for household cleaners. Their search functions are a bit confusing, so I’ve provided links to the different categories of cleaners. To find out which terms are meaningless and which pack real, verifiable protective punch for consumers, click on the link, then click on the term in the chart.

Label Report Cards for:
Bathroom and Kitchen Cleaners
Laundry Products
Glass and Metal Cleaners
Other Cleaners

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About Lynn

Blogger, talkcaster and teacher.
This entry was posted in green home, non-toxic bathroom, non-toxic home, Non-Toxic Kitchen and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to What Does “Non-Toxic” on a Label Mean?

  1. BILL LOONEY says:

    Some companies say non-toxic and some say toxic-free. Are they the same thing except one company is trying to say theirs is non-toxic by saying toxic-free?

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