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Green Chemistry Concepts in Personal Care and Cosmetics
Posted: February 14, 2008
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Greenlist uses four to seven specific criteria to rate ingredients within 17 functional categories. The company enlisted the help of suppliers, university scientists, government agencies, and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) to ensure that the rating criteria were meaningful, objective and valid. These criteria include vapor pressure, octanol/water coefficient, biodegradability, aquatic toxicity, human toxicity, European Union Classification, source/supply, and others as appropriate.
The Greenlist process assigns an environmental classification (EC) score to each ingredient by averaging its scores for the criteria in its category. EC scores range from Best (3) to Restricted Use Material (0). The company lowers the EC score for chemicals with other significant concerns including PBT (persistence, bioaccumulation, and toxicity), endocrine disruption, carcinogenicity and reproductive toxicity.
Today, Greenlist provides ratings for more than 95% of the raw materials used by S.C. Johnson, including solvents, surfactants, inorganic acids and bases, chelants, propellants, preservatives, insecticides, fragrances, waxes, resins, nonwoven fabrics and packaging. Company scientists have also developed criteria for dyes, colorants and thickeners and are working on additional categories as well.
In recent years, S.C. Johnson has used Greenlist to reformulate multiple products to make them safer and more environmentally responsible, though no Greenlist reformulation has been required for the Edge line. Across all of its product lines, S.C. Johnson reformulations since 2001 have removed more than 61 million pounds of VOCs from the environmental footprint of the company’s products, equivalent to the amount produced by approximately 656,000 cars in a year.
Alkyl polyglycoside surfactants: Henkel Corp. manufactures alkyl polyglycoside surfactants, a class of nonionic surfactants manufactured from renewable resources including fatty alcohol, derived from coconut and palm oils, and glucose derived from corn starch. APG surfactants are more innocuous to the environment than petrochemical-based technologies, are readily biodegradable, and have very low ecotoxicity. They have been marketed to the detergent and personal care industries since 1990.