Manufacturers' Certification Process

Purpose of PL+S Certification

The purpose of the Protect Land + Sea Certification Program is to:

  1. Provide consumers with a means of identifying ecologically safer products that do not contribute to aquatic and marine pollution.
  2. Encourage industry to develop safer formulated products that do not contribute to pollution impacts of aquatic and marine ecosystems.
    Differentiate products that lack the chemicals known to cause wildlife pollution issues.
The HEL LIST: Exclusion of Pollution

Products labeled with the “Protect Land + Sea” Certification Seal have been laboratory-tested using analytical-forensic techniques to verify that the product is free of the chemicals that are on the “HEL LIST.” The HEL LIST is the list of chemicals that are known pollutants in many different environments (freshwater streams, river, beaches, and ocean systems) or wildlife (e.g., corals, fish, birds, marine mammals, sea turtles) and pose a threat to Ecosystem Health.

Many of the chemicals on the HEL LIST are intentionally included into the formulation of a product, and may be listed or not-listed in the ingredient label. In some cases, they may also 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). No matter how the chemicals on the HEL LIST can get into a product, CERTIFIED products DO NOT CONTAIN any chemical on the HEL LIST.


Once an application has been submitted with payment-in-full for the application fee, the pre-mass production sample will be chemically tested. Part of the pre-mass production sample (500 gram) will be stored in cryo-storage, and the remainder will go to chemical analysis (500 grams). If the product fails the chemical analysis verification, HEL will ask the client to provide a second sample of the second-run of the pre-mass production run, and chemically analyze both the original sample that is in cryo-storage and the second-run pre-production sample. This is to confirm the results to the manufacturer; that the initial analysis is correct.

If the product fails verification, HEL will provide the client with the report and the results, and reject the application. The application fee will not be refunded, which is why it is strongly and repeatedly recommended to the applicant to pre-screen their product before submitting an application for Certification (see last page, Direct Chemical Analysis Service).

Verification: Phase 2

If the product passes the initial verification, then Haereticus Environmental Laboratory (HEL) signs the final certification agreement. HEL will provide the applicant with a report containing the raw data and analysis, as well as a figure of the chromatograms (the raw scientific data) indicating within the chromatogram where the HEL LIST chemicals should manifest if present. The applicant will also receive a figure of a “spiked” chromatogram containing the chemicals of the HEL LIST (positive control). HEL will provide the Protect Land + Sea Certification SEAL marks to the applicant for use on their product labeling, their website, and for advertising and marketing.

Haereticus Environmental Laboratory, in collaboration with the applicant, may launch a modest advertising campaign regarding the new certified product. This may include press releases, advertising on social blog sites, and newspapers (print and digital) in target geographies. On HEL’s Certification webpage, the raw data for each certified product will be posted, including data from “continued verification.”

Continued Verification of the Product: Phase 3

The purpose of Phase 3 is to bestow a high level of confidence to the consumer regarding the authenticity and veracity of Protect Land + Sea Certification program and the Certified Products.

Haereticus Environmental Laboratory will randomly purchase the applicant’s Protect Land + Sea Certified product under a chain-of-custody protocol (i.e., note the serial and lot number, place of purchase, etc) for testing. Purchase of the applicant’s product and testing will occur twice during the lifespan of the certification: around six months after certification and then 12-18 months after certification. The purchased product will be analyzed for the chemicals in the HEL LIST. If the product passes (absence of all chemicals on the HEL LIST), the data will be provided to the applicant, and the results posted to the HEL Certification website.

If the product fails the “Continued Verification”, another product will be purchased from a retail source with the same lot number, and tested. The results will be presented to the applicant. Haereticus Environmental Laboratory will respond to the failed certification as indicated in the Protect Land + Sea Certification Agreement.

Product Chemical Analysis, non-Certification

This is not part of the certification program, but a stand-alone service offered by Haereticus Environmental Laboratory (HEL), where HEL will analyze a product for the HEL LIST of Chemicals. We will not quantify the target analytes, but only report if they were detected or not by our methodology, which will have a stated Minimum Detection Level for each target analyte.

Many, if not all, of the ingredients used in a product are not manufactured by the product company, but are obtained from an outside supplier. This means that many of these ingredients may contain unknown, added chemicals, such as antimicrobial preservatives and stabilizers. For examples, glycerol from some commercial sources may contain as much as 15% parabens, while “fragrances” can contain as much as 5% 4MB-camphor. Both of these chemical groups are on the HEL LIST.

It is STRONGLY recommended that companies use this service first before applying for certification.

Want to know more about certifying your product, or understanding the chemical composition of your product?

Contact us at or set up a phone appointment by calling +1 434-263-5740 to discuss your product!