Preservatives innovation project

Smart innovation: the opportunity for safer preservatives

The facts: tens of thousands of chemicals in the marketplace have not been adequately evaluated for potential harm to people and the environment. Among the 16 common preservatives examined in EDF’s new report – all contained data gaps for critical health endpoints.

Demand for safer chemicals is growing – significantly.

Major retailers including WalmartTarget, and CVS have adopted safer chemicals policies.

However, it’s not always easy for product manufacturers to replace ingredients with safer alternatives. One challenge is knowing where the innovation opportunities exist. EDF set out to develop baseline safety information, with input from companies and research organizations, for one of the most targeted ingredients in personal care products – preservatives.

The problem: the lack of availability and access to comprehensive and transparent toxicological information on chemicals across the supply chain continues to be a major obstacle to smart innovation. Such baseline information is invaluable for setting safer chemical design criteria that chemical and product developers can integrate into their R&D efforts.

Access to comprehensive health and safety information on chemicals is limited.

The lack of comprehensive, transparent baseline safety information on chemicals is a bottleneck to safer chemical and product innovation. Innovators need access to baseline information to guide new chemical and product development.  Among the common 16 preservatives analyzed, hazard hotspots included skin sensitization and irritation, eye irritation, and toxicity to aquatic organisms.

The solution: a chemicals assessment clearinghouse to drive safer chemical and product innovation.

A revolutionary approach.

Tackling health and safety data bottlenecks requires a revolutionary approach to information sharing.

About the Author

Dr. Jennifer McPartland is Senior Scientist at the Environmental Defense Fund. Dr. McPartland focuses on advancing science, policy, and market solutions to protect human health and the environment from harmful chemical exposures.