Bathroom sinks with handsoap dispensers.

Approved EO 4 Specification

Hand Cleaners and Personal Cleansing Products

Updated December 14, 2021

Hand Cleaners and Personal Care Cleansing Products

 

Covered Products 

This specification covers hand hygiene and personal care cleansing products. Hand hygiene includes hand cleaners and hand soaps as well as products regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as consumer antiseptic hand washes and consumer antiseptic hand rubs. Personal care cleansing products covered by this specification include hair shampoos, body washes, and other personal care cleansing products. Products regulated by FDA as health care antiseptics, first aid antiseptics, or prescribed items are not addressed in this specification. In addition, use in specialized settings where infection control measures are in place, such as use by food service or daycare workers, are not covered. 

 

Background 

New York State follows guidance from federal regulatory agencies and procurement standards such as Massachusetts’s green cleaning contract. NYS is bound by Environmental Conservation Law (ECL) Article 37 that restricts the amount of 1,4 dioxane in hand cleaners, and personal care cleansing products. See Article 37 of the New York State Environmental Conservation Law for 1,4-dioxane concentration limits and dates of effect. 

 

Definitions 

Antimicrobial Agents Substances used to preventing growth of microorganisms and subsequent spoilage, including fungus and mold. 

Antiseptic –antimicrobial agents that are intended to reduce the number of micro-organisms on the skin. Over-the-counter consumer antiseptics are generally broken down into two groups: washes and rubs. 

Consumer Antiseptic Hand Wash and Consumer Antiseptic Hand Rub – product categories defined by the FDA under the "Over the Counter" (OTC) drug monograph rulemaking program. Hand wash products are topical antiseptic products intended to include a water rinse step. Hand rub products (including antiseptic wipes) are topical antiseptic products intended to be used when soap and water are not available and are left on and not rinsed off with water. Consumer antiseptics are categorized as all types of antiseptic products used on a frequent or daily basis by the general population at home or in a public setting. The FDA monograph for each product category defines the active ingredients that are determined by the FDA to be "Generally Recognized as Safe" and "Generally Recognizes as Effective," (GRAS/GRAE) and therefore which products can be legally marketed and not misbranded. 

Hand Cleaners/Hand Soaps – products designed to be used with water to remove both organic and inorganic substances from skin. These substances are grease, bacteria, and other containments that are applied onto the skin. These products are commonly used in routine, nonspecialized settings such as office buildings, schools, and other public buildings. Industrial and institutional use products are used in heavy-duty settings such as garages, print shops, and other industrial settings that remove oil, grease, ink, or other hard to remove substances. 

Personal Care Cleansing Product – shall mean any product intended for cleaning or cleansing any part of the body, such as the skin and hair, and including but not limited to, hair shampoo, hair conditioner, soap, bath gels and other bath products. 

 

Standard Setting and Certification Programs 

Green Seal – is a global, non-profit, independent, third-party standard setting and certification organization that follows the Guiding Principles and Procedures for Type I Environmental Labeling adopted by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO 14024). Green Seal has developed environmental standards and certifies products for more than 40 major product categories. It has a standard for hand cleaners. 

UL EcoLogo – is a global, independent, third-party standard setting and certification program that follows the Guiding Principles and Procedures for Type I Environmental Labeling adopted by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO 14024). Since its establishment in 1988, EcoLogo has been recognized or referenced in more than 350 specifications and standards. It has standards for hand cleaners, personal care products, and instant hand antiseptic products. 

EPA Safer Choice https://www.epa.gov/saferchoice. Products may be viewed at https://www.epa.gov/saferchoice/products. This excludes all products where the parent company is overdue for their yearly partnership review and is identified with a double dagger (‡) next to the company name in the safer choice product list. 

Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute – is dedicated to powering innovation for the circular economy through products that have a positive impact on people and planet. Through the Cradle to Cradle Certified® Products Program, the Institute sets the global standard for products that are safe, circular and made responsibly. https://www.c2ccertified.org/ 

 

Specifications 

All affected entities shall purchase cleaning products that comply with the chemical restriction provisions of Article 37 of the New York State Environmental Conservation Law. 

Personal Care Cleansing Products 

All covered hair shampoos, body washes, and other personal care products are encouraged to hold at least one of the following certifications: 

  • Green Seal GS-44 (2020), Soaps, Cleansers, Hand Sanitizers, and Shower Products. 
  • UL EcoLogo 2845 (2013), Standard for Sustainability for Personal Care Products. 
  • US EPA Safer Choice 

HAND CLEANERS

Hand hygiene is a highly regulated activity in health care, food service, and childcare settings. These specifications do not supersede or change existing health and education regulations and professional guidance related to hand hygiene practices. 

Hand Soaps 

All covered hand cleaners and hand soaps must meet the following criteria: 

  1. Contain NO antimicrobial agents, and 
  2. Hold at least one of the following certifications: 
  • Green Seal GS-41 (2021) Hand Cleaners and Hand Sanitizers for Industrial and Institutional Use. 
  • Green Seal GS-44 (2020), Soaps, Cleansers, Hand Sanitizers, and Shower Products. 
  • UL EcoLogo 2784 (2011) Sustainability for Hand Cleaners. 
  • US EPA Safer Choice 

Matching dispensers must be offered free of charge, and battery-free dispenser options are encouraged. 

Consumer Antiseptic Hand Washes 

Agencies are encouraged to avoid the use of consumer antiseptic hand wash products unless it is used in a specialized setting intended for use by health care personnel where infection control measures are in place such as a healthcare setting. If products are necessary, they must meet the following criteria: 

Be legally marketed and not misbranded under the FDA Monograph for Consumer Antiseptic Hand Wash Products. (81 FR 61106 Consumer Antiseptic Wash Final Rule and any subsequent amendments, updated 2016.) 

Consumer Antiseptic Hand Rubs 

All consumer antiseptic hand rubs products must meet the following criteria: 

Be legally marketed and not misbranded under the FDA Monograph for Consumer Antiseptic Hand Rub Products. (84 FR 14847 Consumer Antiseptic Rubs Final Rule and any subsequent amendments, updated 2019.) 

All consumer antiseptic hand rub products 8 oz. or greater are encouraged to hold the following certification: 

  • Green Seal GS-41(2021), Hand Cleaners and Hand Sanitizers for Industrial and Institutional Use. 
  • Green Seal GS-44 (2020), Soaps, Cleansers, Hand Sanitizers, and Shower Products. 
  • UL EcoLogo 2783 (2011), Instant Hand Antiseptic Products. 
  • Cradle to Cradle 

All consumer antiseptic hand rub products 8 oz. or greater are encouraged to be USDA Biobased, fragrance-free, and dye-free. 

All consumer antiseptic hand rub products less than 8 oz. are encouraged to contain ethyl alcohol or isopropanol active ingredients only. 

NOTE: The Center for Disease Control and Prevention's "Guideline for Hand Hygiene in Health Care Settings" states that alcohol solutions containing 60% to 90% alcohol are most effective. In the United States, alcohol-based hand sanitizers usually contain 60% to 95% ethanol or isopropanol. 

 

Packaging 

Packaging shall comply with Environmental Conservation Law section 37-0205. Packaging shall not contain inks, dyes, pigments, adhesives, stabilizers, or any other additives to which any lead, cadmium, mercury, or hexavalent chromium is intentionally added or contain incidental concentrations of lead, cadmium, mercury or hexavalent chromium which together are greater than 100 parts per million by weight (0.01%). 

New York State encourages affected entities to adopt the following in order of preference when purchasing items that come in packaging: 

  • Items that do not need packaging, or the packaging is part of the product. 
  • Items that come in reusable packaging. 
  • Items that come in bulk packaging. 
  • Items that come in innovative packaging that reduces the amount of packaging. 
  • Items that come in packaging that remains the property of the supplier and does not become the property of the end user under any circumstance or condition. The vendor shall certify that the packaging material will be reused, recycled, or composted, and managed in compliance with applicable local, state, and federal laws. 
  • Items that come in packaging that maximizes recycled or biodegradable (compostable) content and/or meets or exceeds the minimum post-consumer content level for packaging in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Comprehensive Procurement Guidelines. Biodegradable products should only be used in areas where a composting facility exists that accept the material. 
  • Items that come in Packaging that is recyclable or biodegradable (compostable). Biodegradable products should only be used in areas where a composting facility exists and will accept the material.