What it Means to be a Certified Product

The HEL List

Haereticus Environmental Laboratory is a non-profit, scientific organization that specializes in marine and aquatic ecological health. We often conduct investigations into the impacts of pollution on wildlife and ecosystems (see the rest of our website!). We also are famous for conducting independent ecotoxicological studies on chemicals impacting coral reefs.

We’ve come up with a list of chemicals and attributes in personal care products (e.g., sunscreen lotions and sprays) that are found in a number of different aquatic and marine ecosystems that can have a detrimental effect on their existence. We call this list of chemicals and physical-attributes the “HEL LIST.”

Poisoning our Environment

The chemicals on the HEL LIST, besides having acute and direct toxicity to an animal or plant (meaning it can readily kill them or result in obvious harm) are also poisons called “endocrine disruptors.” Endocrine disruptors don’t kill outright, but are a “slow” and “hard to perceive” poison that can mess with your sex life, make it difficult to get pregnant, cause deformities in babies, or induce behavioral pathologies in juveniles/adults – in humans and other animals and plants!

Many manufacturers don’t want these chemicals in their products, but somehow, sometimes, they find a way into the product. The manufacturer doesn’t know about it, and if they did, they would most likely change their source for ingredients. In some cases, these HEL LIST chemicals contaminate a product by being added to an ingredient before the product manufacturer obtains it (e.g., parabens used as preservatives in glycerol, camphors in fragrances). Most manufacturers don’t have the ability to test their source ingredients for every single chemical – it is impossible.

Putting the Product to the TEST!

In Protect Land + Sea Certification program, we don’t ask the manufacturer to verify or certify that their product is pure of HEL List chemicals, as many other programs do. We put their entire product to the test – chemical analysis testing under “forensic” methodology. We vet the products to be free of HEL List ingredients that may act as environmental pollutants.

And we just don’t test the product once. We initially test a product submitted to us by the manufacturer during their Protect Land + Sea Certification Application. Then 6-8 months later, and again 12-18 months later, we will go into a store and buy the “Certified” product off the shelf, and retest the product for the HEL List banned substances.

Keeping it Real!

If the product fails the scientific and forensic testing, we will pull the product’s certification.

Our loyalty is to the consumer of the products, not the manufacturer!

We will post the certified products test results on our website, as well as provide the data to the manufacturer. And we show you the raw data, and will explain what it means – giving you the same power scientists have – to see the test results and make a decision