The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) defines a biobased product to be "a commercial or industrial product that is composed, in whole or in significant part, of biological products." Biobased products are often considered to be environmentally preferable because they can have fewer or no negative effects on human health or
the environment when compared to conventional products used for the same purpose. Biobased products contain materials from plants such as soybeans, corn, cotton, wheat, and other agricultural products.
What Biobased Products Mean To Us?
Where Can I Find Biobased Products?
Depending on the product you are looking for, many retail chain stores carry biobased products. The USDA's BioPreferred label means that the product meets or exceeds USDA
standards for the amount of biobased content as certified by a third party. According to USDA, "Consumers can trust the label to mean what it says because manufacturer's claims concerning the biobased content are third-party certified and strictly monitored by USDA." The BioPreferred web site lists manufacturers or vendors of biobased products
and relevant information of certified products.
Key items to look for are the EPA's "Safer Choice" label for products and the Coating Research Group Incorporated (CRGI) "Greenwise" label for paints. Both of these labels
were designed to aid you in finding environmentally-preferred products, many of which contain biobased ingredients.
Why use Biobased Products?
The use of biobased products in the home has the potential to help improve indoor air quality. Although there may be differences from product to product, most biobased products provide one or more health benefits such as:
Reduced or no exposure to carcinogens, mutagens or teratogens,
Reduced exposure to toxic chemicals that can cause adverse health effects,
Reduced exposure to chemical allergens that can cause asthma attacks,
Reduced exposure to hazardous chemicals that can cause sensory irritation of the eyes, nose and throat,
Reduced exposure to Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) that can cause allergic skin reactions, headaches, fatigue and nausea for those with direct contact with them, and
Reduced exposure to hazardous chemical fumes that can cause lung damage, especially for those using products in closed spaces.
While there are many direct health issues associated with conventional cleaning, carpeting and painting products, it is important to consider the indirect health effects associated with hazardous products. Use of hazardous products affects our water, land, and air and can also impact our health through these additional exposure routes. The use of biobased products often lessens the burden on the environment as well as providing health benefits through improved indoor air quality