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Made Safe: Product Safety Made Simple

Alexis Krauss

Since starting Beauty Lies Truth, Jess and I have been discussing the need for a safety seal that helps consumers quickly and easily spot products that meet a set of rigorous non-toxic safety standards. Finally, thanks to the work of Amy Ziff, Founder and Executive Director of Made Safe, that safety seal is here. Made Safe is America’s first nontoxic certification program that applies widely to products from baby to personal care to household and beyond. They ensure that items we use every day are made with ingredients that aren’t known or suspected to cause human health harm. Made Safe's goal is to change the way products are made in the United States to ultimately eliminate the use of toxic chemicals altogether. Learn more about Made Safe below in our exclusive interview with Amy. Xoxo Alexis

1. The Made Safe seal means that a product is made with safe ingredients. How does Made Safe work with companies to guarantee that ingredients are in fact safe? 

When a brand earns the MADE SAFE™ seal it is a real honor. It's very hard to get to MADE SAFE because our process is so different from what is required in this country.  Most people presume that because a product has been sold on a shelf there has been some sort of governmental or agency approval that would mandate that the product isn't harmful to humans. But alas, that's not the way it works in America. Other countries like Japan, Russia, even China and across Europe do a better job than us. But MADE SAFE sets out to fix that. Our approach presumes ingredients are guilty until proven innocent. We work with brands under NDA in order to have full disclosure about what goes into their products, how they are sourcing ingredients as well as where and how they are made. We use a chemist to model each and every ingredient in a mixture. We screen out known toxicants and don't permit known behavioral toxins, carcinogens, developmental toxins, Endocrine disruptors, fire retardants, GMOs, heavy metals, neurotoxins, pesticides, reproductive toxins, toxic solvents or harmful VOCs in products.  But we go beyond “red lists” and known toxicants to attempt to close data gaps by scientifically screening ingredients that have little to no publicly available data. We follow the Precautionary Principle: in cases where we can’t obtain enough data to determine that an ingredient won’t cause harm to human health, we don’t allow it in certified products. We also evaluate ingredients for concern for bioaccumulation, persistence, as well as general and aquatic toxicity. This is what we call our 360 degree approach which takes into account human health, animals and the environment. 

Our gold-standard MADE SAFE Nontoxic Certified is the only certification that lab tests products in totality, testing products to ensure that the mixture as a whole will not cause harm to human health.

2. What are the biggest obstacles to getting more brands Made Safe certified? Time! 

3. Made Safe assesses ingredients based on Biological Accumulation, Environmental Persistence and Aquatic Toxicity. Can you give a few examples of common unregulated cosmetic ingredients that don't meet the Made Safe standards?

You need to be very careful when you take ingredients out of context, without CAS #s and proper support information to simply say they don't work. We look at every ingredient in a product and look at supply chain, sourcing and more when we are putting it through our process so these questions can really confuse people. That said, we don't allow known endocrine disruptors so if you've heard of the toxicant BPA (Bisphenol A) that is totally unregulated and found in products ranging from cosmetics to food can lining to fem care. While it is widely used, we don't allow it. Nor do we allow any of the other bisphenol alternatives that BPA is being replaced with as consumer awareness around the dangers of BPA grow.  The problem is BPS, BPE, BPF (and the list goes on) aren't necessarily any better and they just might be worse. We also wouldn't permit an ingredient such as diazolidinyl urea, a formaldehyde releaser (as formaldehyde is a probable human carcinogen according to the EPA), in products we certify. Those are a couple of examples that might seem obvious because there are concerns about each of them and yet they can be widely used. 

4. Do you think the FDA will ever adopt a set of standards as unique and rigorous as Made Safe?

I'd love to see the day it does! Alas, right now, in America, chemicals are innocent until proven guilty which forces every single person to take on the role of toxicologist to try and vet their own products. That's why MADE SAFE was created. To give people a way to vote with their dollars for better, safer products to show that there is demand for these kinds of consciously crafted products.  

5. What is Made Safe most excited about right now? We are so excited that just five months after launch we get emails and inquiries everyday from interested brands who want to become MADE SAFE certified. We are changing the way products are made and that is pretty awesome. 

-Amy

Keep an eye out for the Made Safe seal and see which products you love are made safe here.