NPA Natural Seal for Home Care Products

The Natural Standard for Home Care Products

Application for Home Care Products
Application for Home Care Ingredients 

To protect and equip consumers to maximize their well being, NPA developed the Natural Standard and Certification for Home Care Products. Launched in February 2010, the NPA Natural Standard is a set of guidelines that dictate whether a product can be deemed truly "natural." The standard encompasses home care products such as household cleaners, laundry detergents, and concentrated and ready to use hard-surface cleaners. Under the program, products certified under the NPA Natural Home Care Standard can bear the NPA Natural Seal.

Until the NPA standard, there was no definition of the term "natural" used by the home care industry. With the launch of the NPA Natural Standard and Certification for Home Care Products, consumers can look for the easily identifiable seal to discern which home care products are truly natural.

The Essence of the NPA Natural Standard for Home Care Products

The NPA Natural Standard for Home Care Products is based on natural ingredients, safety, responsibility and sustainability.

  • Natural Ingredients: A product labeled "natural" should be made up of only, or at least almost only, natural ingredients and be manufactured with appropriate processes.
  • Safety: A product labeled "natural" should avoid any ingredient that has peer-reviewed, scientific research showing human health or environmental risk.
  • Responsibility: A product labeled "natural" should use no animal testing in its development except where required by law.
  • Sustainability: A product labeled "natural" should use biodegradable ingredients and the most environmentally sensitive packaging.

The Natural Certification Program and Seal of Approval

Under this program, products must follow strict guidelines set out by NPA to merit the seal. The criteria include, but are not limited to:

  • Product must be made up of at least 95 percent truly natural ingredients or ingredients that are derived from natural sources, excluding water
  • No ingredients with any suspected human health risks
  • No processes that significantly or adversely alter the natural ingredients
  • Ingredients that come from a purposeful, natural source (flora, fauna, mineral)
  • Processes that are minimal and don't use synthetic/harsh chemicals
  • Non-natural ingredients only when no viable natural alternative ingredient are available and only when there are absolutely no suspected potential human health risks

Transparency and full disclosure of ingredients per CSPA Voluntary Ingredient Communications Program utilizing INCI labeling standards for each ingredient, the substance must be listed as generally recognized as safe (GRAS) by the FDA when used in accordance with Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) and contain no residues of heavy metals or other contaminants in excess of tolerances set by the FDA or the EPA or has been reviewed using criteria in this Standard. NPA has developed the NPA Illustrative List as a reference document for the NPA Natural Standard and Certification Program for home care products.

The NPA Illustrative List includes ingredients that may be allowed for products certified under the NPA Natural Standard because they meet the NPA definition of natural or they are allowed synthetics under the NPA Natural Standard. This list is not definitive and even though an ingredient is included on this list, it may not be accepted in all available forms. For example, an ingredient on the list may be available in both a natural (and natural sourced) form and synthetic (or synthetic sourced) form. In these cases, only those from the natural sources would be allowed. For those ingredients that are available in both natural and synthetic forms, NPA may require documentation such as purchase orders and batch records to verify that only the natural sourced ingredient is being used in NPA-certified natural products.

To determine if an ingredient is appropriate for an NPA-Certified Natural Product, manufacturers must evaluate the ingredient to assure that it is made with raw materials from natural sources, verify it has been manufactured using the allowed ecological processes outlined in the NPA Natural Standard, and that the ingredient does not contain any prohibited substances identified in the Natural Standard. Manufacturers and retailers can find the definition of Natural, and a list description of allowed and prohibited ingredients and processes within the appendix of the Natural Standard for Home Care Products. For a list of allowed commonly used ingredients, refer to the NPA Illustrative List.

The Natural Standard for Home Care Products requires that companies be transparent, fully disclosing their ingredients accurately and truthfully. They should strive to maximize their use of recyclable and post-consumer recycled content in packaging. And no animal testing of ingredients or products is allowed.

Companies must also provide verifiable information regarding all company home care products to confirm that 60 percent of the home care products in that brand line meet the NPA Natural Standard requirements.

The Natural Standard for Home Care Products Now and Tomorrow
The initial standard is high enough to have real meaning, yet attainable for home care brands that have the intention of being truly natural and currently use high levels of natural ingredients. Over time, the NPA Natural Standard for Home Care Products may harmonize with other global natural and organic standards as appropriate to lessen industry and consumer confusion with differing standards.

What the NPA Natural Seal Means to You

Consumers: The standard will help you become more educated about ingredients and processes considered natural. It gives consumers the information you need to easily identify which home care products meet the standard for natural, and make the best decisions when choosing products. Learn more.

Industry: The NPA Natural Standard for Home Care Products will help you produce and bring to market home care products that meet the definition of natural created by the industry's oldest and largest trade association for natural products. It gives manufacturers, suppliers and retailers the information and tools you need to maintain high levels of consistency among products labeled "natural," as well as inform consumers about how to identify truly natural home care products. Learn more.

Useful Links

Frequently Asked Questions

Natural Certification Standard - Home Care Products [pdf]

NPA Illustrative List of Ingredients [pdf]

Allowed Processes and Ingredients in Home Care Products [pdf]

How to apply for NPA Natural Certification for your home care products [pdf]

The Natural Home Care Work Group