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Greener Chemistry Leads the SCC Charge in Charleston
By: Rachel Grabenhofer, Cosmetics & Toiletries
Posted: June 25, 2012
The Society of Cosmetic Chemists (SCC) Annual Scientific Seminar, held May 3–June 1, 2012, was led with a charge for sustainability and greener chemistry. Michael Fevola, PhD, of Johnson & Johnson, moderated the first session, which opened with the Henry Maso keynote award lecture given by John Warner, PhD, of the Warner Babcock Institute for Green Chemistry LLC. Warner painted a picture for attendees of a "world where all segments of society demand environmentally benign products," conceding that the reality is today's knowledge of material science would not support this demand. Warner explained that materials can be designed to have a minimal impact on the environment and human health while remaining economically competitive. However, the missing link in current material science studies is an understanding of toxicity and the environmental impact of materials. Looking ahead to predict future opportunities in green chemistry, Warner noted considerations for the environment and cost constraints. Attendees enjoyed this view of a trend already in motion within the personal care industry.
Camille Sasik, PhD, of Aveda, described the development of a sensory test method for identifying sustainable polymers to replace synthetic polymers in hair styling applications. She explained that synthetic polymers generally are not sustainable, renewable or biodegradable, which is why there is a push for their replacement. Sasik’s method combined swatch testing, sensory evaluations and polymer characterization to allow for direct comparisons between synthetic and sustainable polymers. This approach has been used to successfully identify more than 24 naturally derived polymer alternatives. Characterization was carried out by incorporating the polymer of interest in an aqueous gel and assessing parameters including shine, natural feel, flaking and hold. Sasik concluded that sensory testing such as this can be used in the early stages of product development to assist in ingredient replacement.
Tom Burns of Novozymes described the American Chemical Society's Green Chemistry Institute (GCI) round table, a group of companies that are dedicated to develop ingredients as green as possible, to assist formulators in creating more sustainable formulas.
Presenting on behalf of Robert Peoples, PhD, David Wylie discussed the new American National Standards Institute (ANSI) standard for greener formulations. This tool is the result of a collaboration between NSF International and ASC/GCI. The standard is meant to serve as a tool to assist chemists in evaluating the impact of chemicals, processes and the design of new molecules within a health safety framework. According to Peoples and Wylie, “This standard will play a role in transforming chemistry from being petroleum-based to one driven by the ‘Twelve Principles of Green Chemistry.’”
Throughout the day, attendees had time to peruse the student posters. Research topics included: DEET encapsulation to reduce its absorption into skin, characterizing ion transport in the human nail plate, high throughput methods for in vitro sunscreen testing, the effect of polymer backbone rigidity and hydrophilicity on polymer-surfactant interactions, the influence of alkyl sulfate on the mesomorphic phase behavior of aqueous systems containing fatty acids and their salts and the use of contact angle and surface tension measurements to design oil dispersants. Also from the student posters, foam stability was a major area of study. Posters presentations examined the effects of polyvinylpyrrolidone (PVP) above and below the critical overlap concentration on sodium alkyl ether sulfate foam stability, the effects of polyquaternium-10 on the foam stability of sodium alkyl ether sulfate and sodium alkyl ether sulfate/cocamidobetaine systems and the effects of polyquaternium-10 and ionic strength on the foam stability of sodium alkyl ether sufate and sodium alkyl ether sulfate/cocamidobetaine systems.