San Francisco Department of the Environment

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Safer Products

San Francisco's Precautionary Purchasing Ordinance requires City departments to purchase green products, and requires SF Environment to identify approved alternatives that are safer and better for the environment.

SF Approved lists these products, along with supporting information such as:

  • Purchasing specifications
  • City-approved vendors
  • Details on products' environmental and health impacts and reports
  • Links to City contracts
  • Guides for city staff, small businesses, homeowners, and large organizations

Easy Guide


Cleaning Products, Air Fresheners

  • Aerosol Cans can trigger asthma, are expensive, and sometimes contain propellants that are greenhouse gases. Use spray bottles instead.
  • Avoid aerosol electronic dusters  because they use fluorocarbon propellants that can cause climate change, and are relatively expensive. Try reusable ones.
  • Air Fresheners can cause lung infections and respiratory problems. Use regular cleaning and natural air fresheners like orange peels instead.
  • Janitorial Chemicals can cause cancer, asthma, reproductive effects and other long-term problems. Use Green Seal or ULE/Ecologo, or Design for the Environment labeled products and safer practices. Try safer sanitizers.
  • Antibacterial Soaps can cause endocrine disruption, allergies and antibacterial resistance. Studies have shown that antibacterial soaps provide no additional benefits compared to regular soap. Use regular soap instead. Try safer dish soaps.
  • Janitorial Paper Products are often manufactured using chlorine-based products, which can pollute waterways. Use maximum recycled-content products labeled as“Processed Chlorine-Free,” or bleached without chlorine derivatives.

Office Supplies

  • Glues can contain toxics that cause neurological effects. Use products without toluene and xylene.
  • Marker Pens can cause skin, eye and respiratory irritation. Use low-odor or water based markers.
  • Paints are highly flammable and emit VOCs. Use zero or low-VOC lines of your favorite brands.
  • Office papers are commonly bleached with chlorine.  Use maximum recycled-content products (100% postconsumer waste) labeled as“Processed Chlorine-Free,” or bleached without chlorine derivatives.

Batteries and Electronics

  • Batteries can leak and cause burns to eyes and skin and pollute surface water and soil. Use products that do not run on batteries or use rechargeable batteries.
  • Electronics contain toxic heavy metals that can bio-accumulate in humans and wildlife. Use EPEAT certified electronics.

Food and Catering Services

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