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Green product Labels and Formaldehyde Free Insulation

Green with Envy Home Store receives many interesting phone calls and mails about product labels and ingredients in many green and not so green products.  This week, we received a few calls about a new miracle product that was advertised in a few different magazines and on the Internet.  These products always get us talking about ingredients and toxicity in the products that we use in our projects and sell in our  store.  A client mentioned the Fair Packaging and Labeling Act.  Please do not even attempt to read the Fair Packaging and Labeling Act.  This document is really confusing and the word “exempt” is used way too often.  In the past, we have tried to interpret this document and the political doublespeak is overwhelming.  If you want to check how business lobbying works in our government, browse this document on a rainy, wintry day. 
A few important facts are worth mentioning about product labeling.  Companies do not need to disclose Proprietary, secret or patented formulas or the combination of their active ingredients on the label. We have noticed more and more products with these types of labeling.  An interesting side note is that these ingredients do have to be registered with the government under a different rule in the Fair Packaging and Labeling Act.    Another interesting topic that we constantly hear about and debate is the 1% rule.   If an ingredient is less than 1% of the products total weight or volume does it need to be listed on the label?   We have also heard for a few years that many products, especially formaldehyde-free insulation, actually contains formaldehyde. What we found is that Formaldehyde is present in so called “formaldehyde free” insulation.  We like scientific studies and a recent State of California field test indicated a “formaldehyde free” product emitted approximately 20 times more formaldehyde that a tested standard product.  Our insulation vendor, Knauf, sells EcoBatt and standard insulations. Green with Envy selected Knauf as our insulation vendor based on product quality and the reputation of the company.  The level of formaldehyde in Knauf standard insulation is so low that the EPA and the Consumer Product Safety Council does not require Knauf to list formaldehyde on the label.  Knauf does not label its standard products “formaldehyde free” because that would be misleading to our clients and other consumers.  However, Knauf insulation products are GreenGuard certified and meet the tough California schools building standards.

Product labeling and ingredient lists are a hot topic at Green with Envy Home Store.  We will continue to update our blog and clients with the latest information and continue to research the 1% rule.