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If you see the 'Safer Choice' label at your local market, now you can know what it means.

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Seventh Generation

Bad news, folks. Your house? It's kinda dirty.

But you're not alone. The world is a dirty place, and every time we step into it, we bring home morsels of its muck.


GIF from "Chappelle Show."

As do our housemates.

Image by Nikolas J. Britton/Wikimedia Commons.

And all that dust? That's the dirt we track in, our hair, fibers from carpet, bedding, clothing, and upholstery, food crumbs, dander, bug poo, and who knows what else.

GIF from "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs."

And sometimes we're just clumsy, messy, germ-y people.

Maybe just ... get used to hard-boiled.

That's why we clean. But we don't just do it to keep our homes sightly. It's also good for our health.

There are billions of bacteria living in our homes — some potentially harmful. And they love gettin' cozy on the surfaces we come into contact with the most.

Photo by Rachel Zack/Flickr.

Cleaning doesn't just protect us from disease-causing germs — it can even boost our health.

An Indiana University study revealed links between home cleanliness and physical fitness. Researchers found that the tidier the participant's home, the more likely they were to lead healthy and active lifestyles.

Ironically, a lot of the products we use to clean are potential health hazards.

It can be hard to determine at times because under current law, companies that make cleaning products don't have to print full ingredient lists on their packaging.

Photo by Maz Ali/Upworthy.

You can squint your way through tinily printed precautions, but vague references to "other ingredients" aren't very helpful with choices about our health or the environmental impacts of our cleaning products.

The EPA thought we needed a better way to find safer cleaning products. So they started their own label.

Yes, like the Berry Gordy of the cleaning aisle, they scouted top talent from both environmental groups and conscious companies in the industry to launch Safer Choice.

Image via the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency/YouTube.

The Safer Choice label means every single ingredient in the product was reviewed by EPA scientists and cleared as being safer for public health and the environment.

They don't only evaluate products for chemical toxicity. The agency's criteria also covers labeling transparency, energy- and water-saving potential, packaging sustainability, and even products' ability to make a long-term positive difference.

Image via the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency/YouTube.

Oh, and seeing as how they're cleaning agents, they also test them for performance so consumers can get exactly what they expect.

Sure, cleaning's a chore. But if we can do it without potential risks to our health or the planet, well, that's worth a little jig.

So fresh. So clean.

Watch a quick primer on the EPA's Safer Choice label:

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