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Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Top 5 Chemical Combos That Could Land You in the Emergency Room

You may never intentionally combine household products, but there is a good chance that you may have done so without thinking. Ever taken a bath with a citrus body wash and a dandruff shampoo? What about the age old cleaning secret of vinegar combined with household cleaning products? Or that drain that just won’t unclog with the first off-brand drain cleaner so you mix in another brand.

These and other events of mistaken mixology could lend to more harm than you may have thought. Take a look at our top 5 chemical combos that could land you in the emergency room.

1. Hydrogen Sulfide Gas
  • Slight Exposure Effects: eye irritation, nausea, dizziness, headache, cough
  • Heavy Exposure Effects: tracheobronchitis, seizures, death
  • Chemical Reaction of: Acids and certain Fungicides such as pesticides, dandruff shampoos, products containing sulfur/sulfates
2. Chloroform
  • Slight Exposure Effects: nausea, dizziness
  • Heavy Exposure Effects: lung damage, kidney damage, nervous system damage, death
  • Chemical Reaction of: Rubbing Alcohol and Bleach
3. Chlorine Gas
  • Slight Exposure Effects: eye, skin, throat and lung irritation
  • Heavy Exposure Effects: burning eyes and skin, nausea, temporary blindness, chest pain, death
  • Chemical Reaction of: Bleach and Hydrochloric Acid both of which are found in different drain cleaners
4. Chloramine Vapors
  • Slight Exposure Effects: coughing, nausea, shortness of breath
  • Heavy Exposure Effects: chest pain, pneumonia, chemical burns in eyes and lungs
  • Chemical Reaction of: Bleach and Amonnia, Vinegar or other acids which are found in common household cleaners 
5. Corrosive Acid
  • Slight Exposure Effects: skin, eye, nose or throat irritation
  • Heavy Exposure Effects: permanent scarring of skin, eyes or throat
  • Chemical Reaction of: Hydrogen Peroxide and Vinegar 

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

How to Find Functional Replacements for Banned or Obsolete Product Ingredients

Government and industry regulations may prevent a company from selling their product in a particular market.  Even certain areas within a market may develop their own guidelines of what they consider a banned ingredient or product.  A prime example of this is the State of California. 

California’s proposition 65 and a collection of other regulations specific to the state identify various rules that apply to products sold their.  While geographically California only makes up a small part of the United States, its residents account for a large market share within the consumer product industry.  This reason influences many companies to have their products reformulated in order to remove the banned ingredients so they can be sold there.

Other common reasons a manufacture would have a product reformulated include:

·         Wanting to target a new niche market such as the eco-friendly products market
·         Key ingredients in their formulation becoming harder to source
·         Reduce production costs by using alternative lower cost ingredients
·         Keep up with their competitors’ product innovations.  This is becoming more common due to the expanded use of utilizing next-gen technology within new products.

The right chemical analysis laboratory can perform a deformulation analysis on a product in order to identify and quantify the components within the product’s formulation.  Once the analytical laboratory identifies all of the ingredients and compares them to lists of known banned or obsolete components, they can determine which ingredients will have to be swapped out.  Alternatives for these removed components are then researched and tested in order to insert into the formulation.

Once the new formulation is complete further testing is performed to ensure that the new formulation behaves in the same way as the previous formulation and to ensure that all of the product’s specifications are still met.  If an error is found further reformulation services are performed until it is corrected.

These services allow the manufacture to develop a more innovative product while eliminating banned or obsolete components.  The new product formulation will now meet the requirements of new markets which allows for manufactures to potentially expand their customer base.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

New Chemical Regulations for All Walmart Products

Walmart recently released a new policy on what chemicals they will allow in the personal care products sold on their shelves. The call for this kind of responsibility in consumer goods has grown in volume over the past few years. Groups like the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) have been lobbying the large retailers for higher standards in revealing harmful ingredients to consumers as well as removing chemicals of major concern.

Walmart’s new policy includes a higher level of transparency from
their suppliers, making complete
ingredient lists available to consumers by 2015. The policy also has the retail store phasing out use of 10 specifically concerning chemicals, though which chemicals are on this list has not yet been released to the public.

Advocates of green environmental care are viewing this policy change as a win and challenge other major retailers to quickly join in steps towards progress in customer safety and policy improvement. While Walmart’s policy has certainly improved their relationship with environmental advocacy groups, the ambiguity of policy specifics cause some doubt as to how and when the public will actually see noticeable changes in the products they use.

Dr. Shri Thanedar, CEO of Avomeen Analytical Services believes in creating products with less objectionable chemicals, and urges Walmart and their suppliers to employ best practices in product eco-friendly reformulation. His company specializes in a chemistry technique called deformulation in which an existing product can be broken down into its individual components, providing a comprehensive ingredient list. This list can then be used to adjust the formula in order to create an innovative and safer product per the client’s specifications. 
“Creating products with safer ingredients can seem like a complicated or impossible task, but if you have the right scientists, who know what to look for and are adept at deformulation and reformulation services, there is no reason that better products could not be on the shelves by 2014.”

Due to the scale at which manufactures produce a product it may take multiple years to sell what finished items are already stored in warehouses, but the CEO of Avomeen says progress should start now.

“Why wait until you are forced by a policy to change your product? Every creative thinker wants to make their invention the best it can be, it should be the same in personal care products. Every supplier and manufacture should start product analysis and chemical research to find what ways they can adapt their product’s formula to make a better brand. These new items should be suitable for human use and even better than the minimum requirements a retailer like Walmart may put into place.”

Walmart may only be committing to a gradual “phase out” of concerning chemicals but these future changes require immediate action by manufactures. The EDF and the general public may have awhile to wait before harmful ingredients are off the shelves, but progress is being made. The responsibility to find the necessary regulatory consulting, deformulation, and new product development resources, like Avomeen, now lie with the suppliers themselves. 

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

California Policies Change Industry Product Practices

California's Green Chemistry Initiative is paving the way for regulatory changes and chemical practices for consumer products. Corporations like Walmart and Procter & Gamble have released new policies banning certain chemicals as ingredients in the products they carry. These companies are pushing environmental health and consumer safety and thereby demanding changes to consumer product ingredients. It is safe to say that the Green Chemistry Initiative will catalyst change in industry product development and uncover the necessity for greater formulation research and alternative ingredient use.

The video below discusses today's new policies in greater detail and was created for fool.com

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