The personal care industry has long demanded stricter standards for products labeled "natural," and in February, the Natural Products Association (NPA), the group representing retailers and manufacturers including Whole Foods and Clorox Co., has released new standards for home-care products.
These include household cleaners for bathrooms and kitchen countertops and laundry detergents. Up until now, there has been no definition of the term "natural" within the home-care products industry.
Daniel Fabricant, NPA vice president of scientific and regulatory affairs, has been quoted as saying that many so-called natural cleaning products contain largely synthetic ingredients. And consumers are already confused about what makes products natural as well as organic.
The Natural Certification Program and Seal of Approval was developed for products that meet the NPA’s new guidelines. In May 2008, the NPA created standards and a seal for natural personal care products such as shampoos, moisturizers, and lotions. More than 340 products have been reviewed and have been certified by the NPA.
In order to display the Natural Home Care Seal, home-care product manufacturers must meet specific criteria, including making certain their products contain at least 95 percent truly natural ingredients derived from natural sources, with the exception of water. The products must not contain any ingredients that have any suspected health risks, such as residues of heavy metals or other ingredients not approved by the FDA or the EPA; or have any ingredients that adversely affect the natural ingredients.