Safer Solutions Total Environment Centre
Safer Solutions
. .
Home arrow For Your Renovations arrow FAQ arrow How can I tell if a product is ‘safe’ or not?
How can I tell if a product is ‘safe’ or not? PDF Print E-mail

It’s difficult to call anything 100% ‘safe’. What’s ‘safe’ for one person may be unsafe for another, particularly if they have allergies or sensitivities or are at greater risk of exposure, such as children and workers.

We refer more generally to ‘safer’ or ‘low hazard’ products so there is comparison with other products. For instance, a water-based glue might be considered ‘safer’ than a solvent-based glue or a mineral-derived paint pigment ‘safer’ than a heavy metal pigment.

Two things need to be taken onto account when assessing the safety of a product:

  • the toxicity of all of the ingredients in the product
  • your likelihood of exposure to them.

Generally speaking natural (i.e. nature-derived) ingredients are considered safer than synthetic or manufactured chemicals because there are likely to be mechanisms to break them down in our bodies and the environment, whereas many manufactured chemicals stay around in the environment and our bodies causing harm.

Beware of misleading advertising claims which promote products as ‘natural and safe’ without telling you the whole story. Closer inspection may reveal that any natural ingredient is only a small percentage of the total contents.

Always read the label and check for warning statements such as ‘caution’,  ‘poison’ and ‘keep out of reach of children’ which is an indication the product is perhaps best avoided for a safer option.

Next >