Safer Products

Safer products means healthy people
The products we buy‚ either at home or at the workplace‚ can have an enormous impact on our health and the environment. Our SF Approved list is your one-stop resource for reliable information on green products.
Policy Achievements
Since the landmark Precautionary Purchasing Ordinance passed in 2005, SF Environment has assembled a list of more than 1,000 green products for City staff, with environmentally preferable specifications for 34 green product subcategories.



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Directories, Case Studies, Downloads

From where to buy compostable bags to how much money your neighbor saved on their home improvement project


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Cleaning products are designed to improve our quality of life. Unfortunately, many chemicals in cleaning products can be harmful to our health, our pets and the environment. The good news is that a number of less-toxic alternatives, as well as homemade recipes are readily available.  By choosing safer products, reading labels and safely disposing of products, we can protect our health. Learn more about household and cleaning products.


Chemicals can enter our bodies through the food and water we consume, the air we breathe, and the household products we use. Emerging science shows that the timing of exposure to toxic chemicals is critical in determining the resulting health impacts and that children are more vulnerable to the effects of these chemicals. Many programs and policies, both nationally and locally, are being established to protect children.


Mercury is a toxic metal that occurs naturally in the earth's crust.  Because of it's unique chemical and physical properties, mercury has been used for thousands of years.  Today it can be found in pesticides, dental fillings, electrical switches, fluorescent lamps, thermometers, and thermostats.

Hows and whys of buying green
What does it mean to buy green? Environmentally preferable "green" purchasing is a powerful force in changing markets and promoting a healthy City. The SF Approved List is San Francisco's own directory of green products and services, with resources for City departments, green businesses, large institutional buyers and consumers.Read>
Some of the products consumers use every day‚ - like face cream, shampoo, deodorant, and makeup, - can contain chemicals linked to cancer, birth defects, liver toxicity, and other serious health consequences. Unfortunately, the federal government does not require companies to test personal care products for safety before they reach the store shelf. See our links below to search for safer alternatives.Read>
Between the toothbrush we begin our day with to the light switch we turn off at night, dozens of everyday products are made from plastic. Most plastics are made from petroleum, a non renewable resource which not only is a healthy hazard, but creates large amounts of pollution and waste. In order to protect the health of our environment, it is important to first reduce the use of plastic materials and recycle them at the end of life.Read>

Additional Information for Safer Products

GoodGuide aims to provide authoritative information about the health, environmental and social performance of products and companies. Its mission is to help consumers make purchasing decisions that reflect their preferences and values.
Responsible Purchasing Network
An international network of buyers dedicated to socially responsible and environmentally sustainable purchasing. Includes buying guides, specifications and many other resources.
SF Approved List
San Francisco's own green products catalog for City departments. Includes green specifications, green products on City contracts, vendor information, and product reviews by City users.