Healthy Living Dictionary: E-I



E – I

ESP (Cabinets)
Endocrine Disruptor
EPA Signal Words

FSC (wood products)
Flammable (on Pesticide and Cleaning Labels)
Free Range



Inert ingredient (in pesticide products)
Integrated Pest Management (IPM)

Browse other sections:

ESP (Cabinets)
Environmental Stewardship Program (ESP): “In 2006, the Kitchen Cabinet Manufacturers Association (KCMA) created the Environmental Stewardship Program to help cabinet manufacturers demonstrate their commitment to environmental sustainability and help consumers easily identify environmentally-friendly products. After meeting certification requirements in areas of air quality, product and process resource management, environmental stewardship, and community relations, cabinet manufacturers can display the ESP seal on their products.”

ESP-certified cabinets meet California’s formaldehyde emission standards. These standards are required for all cabinets in the U.S. as of 2013.

Hardwood plywood: 0.05 ppm (parts per million)

Particleboard: 0.09 ppm

Medium-density fiberboard (MDF): 0.11 ppm

Thin MDF: 0.13 ppm

For products labeled “No-added formaldehyde” emissions must not be higher than 0.04 – 0.06 ppm depending on the type of wood.

More information:



Emulsifier: a substance used to mix oil and water and maintain a stable emulsion (a homogenized mixture of two non-mixable liquids).

Emulsifiers are used in food, cosmetics, creams/lotions, hair conditioners,  medicine, and almost all cleaners. Egg yolk, lecithin, mustard, and honey are common food emulsifiers. Detergents and surfactants act as emulsifiers and are often used in the manufacture of cosmetics and cleaners.

Examples include cetereath 20, cetearyl alcohol, diethanolamine, monoethanolamine, PEGs, polysorbate 20, potassium or sodium stearate, some quaternary ammonium compounds, sodium lauryl sulfate, and triethanolamine.



Endocrine disruptors are chemicals that interfere with the function of the endocrine system (glands secreting hormones necessary for normal growth, development, reproduction, and homeostasis). Endocrine disruptors can adversely affect the developmental, reproductive, neurological, and immune systems of humans and wildlife.

According to the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences-National Institutes of Health, “A wide range of substances, both natural and man-made, are thought to cause endocrine disruption, including pharmaceuticals, dioxin and dioxin-like compounds, polychlorinated biphenyls, DDT and other pesticides, and plasticizers such as bisphenol A. Endocrine disruptors may be found in many everyday products– including plastic bottles, metal food cans, detergents, flame retardants, food, toys, cosmetics, and pesticides.” NIEHS also states, “Research shows that endocrine disruptors may pose the greatest risk during prenatal and early postnatal development when organ and neural systems are forming.”

LMG Articles of interest
Disrupted Development, Part One: Endocrine Disruptors and Our Health

BPA: Uncontained Danger

Top 5 Personal Care Ingredients to Avoid

Tips to Avoid Exposures

Pesticides: What You Don’t Know Can Hurt You

Sigg Reveals Bottles Did Contain BPA

Non-Toxic Nursery

Dow to Clean Up Dioxin and Other Toxins


EPA SIGNAL WORDS and FLAMMABLE (on Pesticide and Cleaning Labels)

“Caution,” “Warning,” and “Danger” are signal words used to denote the level of toxicity for household cleaners and pesticides according to EPA standards. One of the three following terms is found on the label.

Caution: Low toxicity: lethal dose is an ounce to more than a pint. Caution category is very broad. Includes products with varying degrees of safety.

Warning: Moderately toxic: lethal dose is a teaspoon to a tablespoon. Warning category may include such cleaners as: floor cleaners and disinfectant sprays.

Danger: Highly toxic: lethal dose is a few drops to a teaspoon. Danger category may include such cleaners as: oven cleaners, drain openers, rust removers, and toilet bowl cleaners.

Poison and the skull and crossbones symbol  : Will appear on products labeled “Danger” if the product is highly toxic according to acute oral, acute dermal, or acute inhalation toxicity studies OR if methanol is present at 4% or more.

Other cleaner and pesticide label signal words:

Corrosive: Will appear on products labeled “Danger” if the product causes permanent damage to the eye or if the product damages or scars the skin beyond the surface layer where nerve endings and blood vessels occur.

Flammable: Product is inherently more dangerous due to flammable nature. The term “Flammable” also indicates the product likely contains VOCs (volatile organic compounds). VOCs are carbon-based chemicals that evaporate readily (offgas) at room temperature. Many VOCs are linked to cancer and other negative health effects.

For more information: EPA: Label Review Manual

Download a PDF: EPA Signal Words


Definition: “The study of the patterns and causes of disease in human populations.”

How it helps: “It is useful for investigating associations between exposures and outcomes or in pinpointing groups at increased risk of an outcome. Because epidemiology studies populations, not individuals, it is of little use in predicting an outcome for a particular person. Thus, it allows us to say that exposure to organic solvents increases the risk of spontaneous abortion by twofold to fivefold, but it cannot say whether a particular spontaneous abortion in an exposed woman was due to solvent exposure or to other factors.”

Source: Schettler, Ted, et al. Generations at Risk: Reproductive Health and the Environment. Massachusetts Institute of Technology: MIT Press, 1999. Print.


FSC (wood products)
Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC): ”FSC is an independent, non-governmental, not-for-profit organization established to promote the responsible management of the world’s forests.”

Lumber and wood products may be marked with the FSC logo. ”The FSC label ensures that the forest products used are from responsibly harvested and verified sources.”

FSC certified companies must adhere to criteria describing, “how forests can be managed to meet the social, economic, ecological, cultural and spiritual needs of present and future generations. Developed through a strong, multi-stakeholder process, they include managerial aspects as well as environmental and social requirements.”

More information:


The United States Department of Agriculture provides this definition for free range (or free roaming) chickens:

“Producers must demonstrate to the Agency that the poultry has been allowed access to the outside.”

There is no description for the “outside”, which could merely consist of a concrete slab. The size of outside area is also not specified. “Access” could be one small window or door for thousands of chickens.



Term & Pronunciation: Formaldehyde   fawr-mal-duh-hahyd, fer-

Trade name: Formalin

May be found in:

  • 2-bromo-2-nitropropane-1,3-diol
  • diazolidinyl urea
  • DMDM hydantion
  • Ididazolidiny urea
  • Methylene glycol
  • Quarternium 15
  • Urea formaldehyde


Purpose/ Definition

Personal Care: Formaldehyde is used to preserve cosmetics and hair products. It serves as a strengthener in nail products.

Household: This solvent occurs in adhesives, paints and other household products and building materials. Layers of pressed wood (hardwood plywood, particleboard, medium density fiberboard) are often held together with urea-formaldehyde (UF) glues. Cabinets and other pressed wood products may also be coated with a formaldehyde-emitting clear finish.

Clothing: Formaldehyde adds wrinkle-free qualities to draperies and clothing such as slacks.

Health Concerns
Formaldehyde is a volatile organic compound (VOC), off-gassing at room temperature.

“Known Human Carcinogen” according to the U.S. National Toxicology Program’s (NTP) 13th Report on Carcinogens, while the EPA lists formaldehyde as a probable human carcinogen.

Formaldehyde is a known irritant to the eyes, nose, throat, and skin. Short term exposure can cause loss of sense of smell, increased upper respiratory disease, sore and dry throat, coughing, wheezing, chest pain, shortness of breath.

Long term exposure can adversely affect the nervous system, causing headaches, depression, mood changes, insomnia, irritability, attention deficit, and impairment of dexterity, memory, and equilibrium. (Oregon Occupational Safety and Health Division).

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, formaldehyde may occur in substantial concentrations in homes. Mobile homes are of special concern. EPA is currently investigating how to protect against risks posed by formaldehyde in manufactured homes. Formaldehyde is an eye, nose, and throat irritant and can trigger severe allergic reactions, as well as asthma attacks. 

LMG Articles of Interest
Blown Away; Hair treatment highlights need for reforms, Fall 2010

Top 5 Personal Care Ingredients to Avoid and Suggested Alternatives, Fall 2010

Pretty Pure Polish, Fall 2010

Fresh Air?, Spring 2008

Paint Pure, Spring 2008

Greener Cleaners: Boats and RVs, Spring 2007

Green Renovations, March 2004

Breathe Easy, December 2003



Active ingredient in Roundup®: glyphosate (glahy-fos-eyt)
Chemical formula: C₃ H₈ NO₅ P

Purpose/ Definition: Non-selective herbicide used to kill weeds, grass, woody brush, trees

History/ Usage

First marketed in 1974. Re-registered in 1993. Glyphosate is the second most commonly used pesticide for homes and gardens (after 2,4-D) with totals of 5 – 8 million pounds per year (2001) according to EPA data. Use in agriculture has expanded recently with the increased use of crops that have been genetically modified to tolerate glyphosate treatment.

How it Works

Liquid applied to leaves is absorbed and translocates (moves within the plant) to the root system. Within a minimum of 2 – 7 days the plant and roots will die.

EPA Toxicity: EPA Acute Toxicity Category: III (Slightly toxic)

(Category I is most toxic, Category IV is least)

EPA Oncogen (tumor causing substance) classification for glyphosate: Group E oncogen showing evidence of non-carcinogenicity for humans based on lack of convincing evidence.

EPA Signal Word on Label: Caution! Causes Moderate Eye Irritation (Caution is least toxic)

According to EPA, glyphosate ranks high among pesticides for causing illness or injury to workers due to splashing during mixing and loading, causing eye and skin irritation.

Toxicity Studies
In humans, Roundup® or its active ingredient, glyphosate, is linked to:

  • Non-Hodgkins lymphoma
  • Rapid cell division of breast cancer cells
  • Genetic damage of blood cells and connective tissue
  • Inhibited growth and development of nerve cells
  • Increased risk of miscarriage
  • EPA states, “Glyphosate does not cause mutations.” However, the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (a division of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) describes glyphosate as a “mutagen,” according to Northwest Coalition for Alternatives to Pesticides.

Animal studies show exposure to Roundup® or glyphosate can:

  • Affect the pancreas, liver, and kidneys
  • Increase the number of abnormal skeletons in offspring
  • Decrease body weight gain in pregnant females
  • Reduce sex hormone production in males
  • Alter enzyme activity in the brains of fetuses

Source: Glyphosate factsheet, Northwest Coalition for Alternatives to Pesticides

Inert Ingredients

Roundup’s® most well-known and documented inert ingredient is POEA, which:

  • helps glyphosate get absorbed into the plant
  • has been linked to adverse effects to the respiratory, cardiovascular, and central nervous system.
  • can kill human cells, particularly embryonic, placental and umbilical cord cells

Studies show the formulation of Roundup® is more toxic than glyphosate alone.

LMG Articles of Interest
Pesticides in Clean Water, May 2011

Greener Choices for Your Next Picnic, May 2011

Pesticides: What You Don’t Know Can Hurt You, Summer 2010

Roundup Factsheet, Summer 2010

Lawn Sign Update, Spring 2008

“Roundup Ready” Seeds Go to Court, Spring 2007

Spring Checklist for a Health Yard, Spring 2007

Progressive Pesticide Policies, June 2004



GMO and GEO are used interchangeably. GMO is the acronym for genetically modified organism. GEO stands for genetically engineered organism.

Definition: A GMO or GEO is an organism (plant or animal) containing altered genes to display desirable traits. Transgenic genetic engineering involves inserting genes from an unrelated species.

Genetic engineering allows crops such as alfalfa, corn, soy, and cotton to survive sprays of pesticides, such as  Roundup® (active ingredient: glyphosate). The majority of corn, soy, and cotton grown in the U.S. is genetically engineered. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, “Transgenic technology has been used in over 40 species of plants including corn, cotton, tomatoes, potatoes, soybeans, tobacco, rice, cranberries, papayas, raspberries, chrysanthemums, gladioli, petunias, poplars, spruce, and walnuts.”

The Monsanto Company (located in Mason, MI) is the leading producer of genetically engineered seeds.

Foods containing GMO/ GEO ingredients do not have to be labeled as such. 

Organic products are not allowed to contain the GMOs/ GEOs.

Concerns over GMOs include allergic reactions, the presence of antibiotics in genetically modified genes, the ability of GMOs to escape into the environment, and unknown ingredients in our food.

LMG Articles of Interest:
“Roundup Ready Seeds” Go to Court, Spring 07

Go Organic; Do you know about GMOs?, Summer 06



According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (dated October 18, 2000):

“Hypoallergenic cosmetics are products that manufacturers claim produce fewer allergic reactions than other cosmetic products. Consumers with hypersensitive skin, and even those with “normal” skin, may be led to believe that these products will be gentler to their skin than non-hypoallergenic cosmetics.

There are no Federal standards or definitions that govern the use of the term 'hypoallergenic'. The term means whatever a particular company wants it to mean. Manufacturers of cosmetics labeled as hypoallergenic are not required to submit substantiation of their hypoallergenicity claims to FDA.

The term ‘hypoallergenic’ may have considerable market value in promoting cosmetic products to consumers on a retail basis, but dermatologists say it has very little meaning.”


INERT INGREDIENT (in pesticide products)

According to U.S. EPA:

“Pesticide products contain both ‘active’ and ‘inert’ ingredients. The terms ‘active ingredient’ and ‘inert ingredient’ are defined by the federal law that governs pesticides (Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act [FIFRA]).”

Active ingredient: ”prevents, destroys, repels, or mitigates a pest, or is a plant regulator, defoliant, desiccant or nitrogen stabilizer. By law, the active ingredient must be identified by name on the pesticide product’s label together with its percentage by weight.”

Inert ingredient: ”any substance (or group of similar substances) other than an active ingredient that is intentionally included in a pesticide product. Called ‘inerts’ by the law, the name does not mean non-toxic.”

“Pesticide products often contain more than one inert ingredient. Inert ingredients play key roles in the effectiveness of pesticides. Examples include inerts that prevent caking or foaming, extend product shelf-life, or solvents that allow herbicides to penetrate plants.”

Source: U.S. EPA: Inert Ingredients Permitted in Pesticide Products

The “active” ingredient of one pesticide formulation may be the “inert” in a different product.  Inerts do not have to be identified on the label. EPA is seeking comment on options for increasing public disclosure of all inert ingredients in pesticides registered under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA). More…


Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is a term without an official definition. The most basic meaning behind IPM is to use a variety of pest control techniques; not relying solely on one tool or resource such as pesticides.

Most often this interpretation of IPM is taken further to incorporate more specific ways of reducing or eliminating pesticide use.

LocalMotionGreen encourages a definition of IPM prioritizing prevention and non-toxic strategies to eliminate unnecessary pesticide use. In a least toxic approach the “Integrated” Techniques of IPM include:

  1. Prevention: Site inspection to monitor for pests; eliminate structural conditions that encourage pests; encourage good sanitation.
  2. Mechanical controls: Use tools and devices, such as lice combs, glue traps, snap traps, and vacuum cleaners to trap and/ or kill pests.
  3. Biological controls: Take advantage of nature’s predator/ prey relationships and mating instincts. Microscopic parasites, predacious insects, and synthetic pheromones are all possible tools.
  4. Chemical controls: Non-toxic sprays made of soapy water kill many insects and their nests. Non-volatile baits are used before more dangerous pesticides are considered. Spot treatment or crack and crevice treatment are always more effective than broadcast spraying of pesticides.
  5. Education: Everyone (residents, students, staff) living or working in the home or building can take part in preventing pests.

When hiring an IPM practitioner, be sure to ask about their definition of IPM and preferred methodology.

Definitions provided by Federal and State agencies:
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency: “In technical terms, Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is the coordinated use of pest and environmental information with available pest control methods to prevent unacceptable levels of pest damage by the most economical means and with the least possible hazard to people, property, and the environment.”

Michigan Department of Agriculture (governs over all pesticide use in the state): “To manage pests with the least possible impact on people, property, and the environment. Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is a ‘pest management system that uses all suitable techniques in a total management system, to prevent pests from reaching unacceptable levels, or to reduce existing pest populations to acceptable levels.’”

For more information on IPM, visit:
Beyond Pesticides (national non-profit organization)

IPM Institute of North America, Inc.(national non-profit organization)


Published on January 23, 2015