Interview: Amy Ziff, Founder of MADE SAFE

BY ON March 9, 2016

Made Safe certificate explanation card

If you’ve found it impossible to determine the safety of the products you buy, a new label called MADE SAFE has come to the rescue.

The label, which is starting to show up on everything from cosmetics to condoms, screens products for ingredients that might be keeping you up at night: known behavioral toxins, carcinogens, developmental toxins, endocrine disruptors, fire retardants, GMOS, pesticides, reproductive toxins, and more.

With over 84,000 chemicals in use today, but little to no public data on their impact on human health, MADE SAFE does for you what you can’t do for yourself: use the best available science to scrutinize each and every ingredient not only for how dangerous it is, but for the impact it might have if it builds up in our bodies (called “bioaccumulation”), persists in the environment, and is toxic to fish and other aquatic wildlife.

What I love about MADE SAFE is that it empowers you to shift your spending to the safest available products in the marketplace. Making those shifts is one of the fastest, easiest, most effective ways to protect you and your family. Using MADE SAFE as a guide, you can safeguard the people you love (Tweet this) while sending a strong message to companies to stop using toxic ingredients.

I caught up with Amy Ziff, the founder of MADE SAFE, just prior to the label’s official launch.

There are already so many “eco labels” around. Why do we need another one?

Other labels primarily focus on the environment, so they’re designed to consider the “green” or “eco” characteristics of a product. But what motivates a lot of shoppers is what’s going to impact their health, their kids’ health, their quality of life, even how long they’re going to live. That’s where MADE SAFE makes a difference. Our priority is human health.

Plus, most labels are only relevant to one category, like food, or cleaning products, or cosmetics. MADE SAFE is the first human health certification to cross consumer product categories. For the first time, people can find items that don’t contain known toxic chemicals in many store aisles, from baby and household products to personal care and cosmetics.

How did you develop the MADE SAFE program?

It really started about five years ago. I felt like there were lots of labels but no one was looking specifically at the toxic ingredients in products. I realized that a label like MADE SAFE could help people benefit in all aspects of their lives, make meaningful changes in their own homes, and chip away at their own chemical body burden, the build-up over time of toxic chemicals in our systems.

I pulled together an expert team of chemists, physicians, and research scientists to set up the protocols to screen ingredients and use modeling software to determine whether an ingredient is likely to be harmful. The result is the launch of MADE SAFE, and its companion label, NONTOXIC CERTIFIED.

What’s the difference between the two labels?

The MADE SAFE (Made With Safe Ingredients tm) seal literally means that a product is made with safe ingredients: ingredients that are not known or suspected to harm human health as determined by scientifically recognized lists from around the world. NONTOXIC CERTIFIED tm means that a product – in totality  is not toxic. It starts with a base of safe ingredients, then uses actual lab testing to ensure that combining ingredients won’t cause harm.

We want to be a catalyst for safer, sustainable products on shelves anywhere. MADE SAFE is step 1 in the process. Once you know you have good ingredients, then you can move the product to a lab environment and put it under a microscope. Once we do a “compound analysis” to see how all of the ingredients in a product interact, a company that meets our criteria becomes NONTOXIC CERTIFIED.

People want the bottom line on safety when they shop; both of our seals make it easier. For companies claiming they are safe and healthy, we offer an independent, 3rd party verification system.

What impact do you hope you have on the manufacturers themselves?

We are engaging very deeply with manufacturers to get them to think about their production process in a different way. We all know that it’s much more difficult to change a product once it’s already on store shelves. We’re working with companies during their research and development (R&D) process so they’ll get their ingredients formulas right from the get-go. We’re of course looking at products that are already in store aisles, but we’re also helping manufacturers that are formulating new products.

What’s the benefit to companies of working with you?

Our seal is the ultimate reward for having gone through the trouble that it takes to make pure products in this day and age. There is a big demand for safe, healthy products. Manufacturers that earn the MADE SAFE or NONTOXIC CERTIFIED seal should have a big marketplace advantage when it comes to sales and meeting consumer demand.

Learn more about MADE SAFE.

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TOPICS: MCAF News, Toxics