Health First: A Cleaning Products Industry Roadmap for Selecting Safer Chemicals

The Health First Roadmap is intended to provide specific guidance to cleaning product companies on chemical screening and safety.

The roadmap outlines the key categories included in company chemical screening, and benchmarks from “compliance” to the “high road” the ways companies can make progress towards an approach that puts health first. 

Why A Health First Roadmap?

Currently, no company in the cleaning products sector is fully transparent about how it manages chemicals and ensures that it is using safe ingredients. This is both a serious problem for public health and for companies that are committed to building consumer trust. Read more.

Roadmap categories and benchmarks

Chemicals Management

Reviewing corporate policies companies use to manage chemicals, including goals for reducing chemicals of high concern, and whether progress has been made towards meeting these established goals. Read more.

Disclosure and Transparency

Evaluating whether companies publicly share information about their safer chemicals policies, practices, and criteria. Read more.

Appendix 1: Women’s Voices for the Earth (WVE) Indicator Chemicals List. View now.

Chemicals Assessment

Examining specific approaches, methods and criteria for evaluating chemicals, determining chemicals of high concern to reduce or eliminate, and assessing alternatives to avoid regrettable substitution. Read more.

Industry Collaboration

Highlighting the importance of collaboration among companies that manufacture cleaning products. Read more.

Appendix 2: Companies & industries with components of strong chemical screening programs. View now.

Health First (Green)


Companies put human health and the environment first. The set of chemicals they allow in their products is very limited to only those that pose no potential health risks to consumers at any level, regardless of exposure pathways. They are transparent about their chemical screening efforts and criteria, and they lead collaborative efforts to move the cleaning products industry towards safer production.

Do No Harm (Purple)


Companies ensure that their products do not contain chemicals of concern to human health or the environment. They stay ahead of regulatory changes by prohibiting chemicals deemed hazardous by any jurisdiction in the world and those that consumers and NGOs are concerned about, regardless of levels or exposure pathways.

Do Less Harm (Orange)


Companies take action by prohibiting or restricting chemicals deemed hazardous by any jurisdiction in the world, including any chemical for which new regulations emerge. They seek to make these changes across all cleaning products, regardless of levels or exposure pathways.

Compliance (Red)


Companies take no additional action to restrict or prohibit chemicals of concern than is currently required by law. They continue to use chemicals deemed hazardous in other jurisdictions.

The Health First Roadmap is the result of the combined talents of Sarada Tangirala (lead author) and Alexandra Scranton, with editorial review provided by Jamie McConnell, Erin Switalski, and Beth Conway.

Special thank you to the Health First Advisory Committee:

Ann Blake, Ph.D., Environmental & Public Health Consulting

Sally Edwards, Sc.D., Senior Research Associate, UMass Lowell Center for Sustainable Production

Roger McFadden, President, McFadden and Associates, LLC

Mark Rossi, Ph.D., Executive Director, Clean Production Action