Press Release: December 2013

AkzoNobel Surface Chemistry Americas will raise the price of ethoxylated amines, quaternaries and derivatives up to 15 cents per kilogram effective January 15, 2014 or as contracts allow. "We are invested in making safe, reliable, and consistent product to meet our customers' needs. Increases in several key raw materials and the necessity of investment to keep our sites efficient and safe is the reason for these increases," said Susan Booth, Functional Applications Business Director of AkzoNobel Surface Chemistry Americas.


 Chemical Watch: November 2013

Marketers know from a host of consumer studies that the first time most consumers become acquainted with products is at the point-of-purchase, which still primarily occurs in a brick-and-mortar store. Not only that, but also the majority of purchase decisions—despite the consumer's previous exposure to advertisements and other forms of promotion—are made at the point-of-purchase, sometimes rather spontaneously. All of this means that labelling and packaging decisions should be of paramount importance to product developers. Therefore, the decisions involved are not just about what is put into a product, but what goes on the product package—and to this latter point, the rules pertaining to desired claims.

For example in the United States, regulations surrounding most labelling decisions are under the purview of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). There are labelling requirements for both categories of topical products, i.e., cosmetics and drugs, as well as certain claims that are allowed and disallowed depending on the product category—a rule that seems randomly enforced. By now, this area should be well-understood by marketers, although it is often abused as too many cosmetics companies continue to make claims that are not allowed, such as "reduces wrinkles" or "reverses aging." These drug claims are monitored by the FDA, although it has the resources to address only the most egregious of offenders.

Beyond Claims: The Proliferation of Certifications

In the world of natural and organic products, where many highly questionable active ingredient claims abound, there is another confusing labelling aspect through which consumers must sort: various third-party certifications. These relate to products that are greener, and more naturally derived and processed, but have become a source of further confusion for both consumers and marketers alike. On the other hand, having such certifications is helpful since government regulation is lacking in this high growth segment, resulting in "green washing" and product puffery among marketers.

Important North American Certifications

USDA: In the United States, there are a few highly recognizable seals commonly displayed on the labels of natural and organic personal care products. One of these is backed by the U.S. government. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) oversees a program that allows third-party organizations to denote products as "Certified Organic" if they meet the stringent requirements of the National Organic Program1 (NOP). The USDA standards were originally developed solely for food and not for topical products, so in the past there has been some difficulty in adapting them for personal care. This is the preferred seal in the United States if one's product is positioned as organic.

Another certification issued by the National Science Foundation (NSF) for products having less organic content, or for companies that do not wish to qualify their products for the USDA seal. This seal is a relatively recent introduction, developed to provide a distinction for products that contain lower levels of organic ingredients. It has yet to gain wider use by branded product manufacturers.

NPA Natural seal: Another certification that has proliferated in the United States is a seal whose origins lie in a task force organized and managed by this author, back in 2003. The task force, called the International Association of Natural Products Producers (IANPP), consisted of three dozen organizations from throughout the supply chain, which after three years finally succeeded in drafting a definition for "natural." Note that natural and organic are two different designations, and the Natural Products Association (NPA) seal deals only with "natural" and not "certified organic."

Global Need

If the USDA Certified Organic and NPA Natural seals are achieving notoriety in the United States, what about other regions? As one might expect, the landscape is scattered with not-for-profit efforts to certify products as being something other than synthetically derived and/or synthetically processed.

European Standards

Products are generally analyzed and rated along several different parameters, including the origin and processing of their ingredients, and the total composition of them in the product; their storage, manufacturing and packaging; environmental management; labelling and communication; inspection; and certification and control. The bottom line is that the certification must resonate with consumers in that particular country or region. Some markets, such as the U.S., have been a little late to the game of natural and organic personal care product certification. This is why the Ecocert seal (detailed later in this article), offered by a French certifier, is found on so many products in the United States. Until relatively recently, it was one of the only options available to American manufacturers.

COSMOS: While there are a number of different certifiers in Europe, the good news is their standards have been harmonized under the Cosmetics Organic and Natural Standard (COSMOS). This means that an Ecocert-labeled product will have been subjected to the same scrutiny as a BDIH product, for example; following, these are described in more detail.


 Chemical Week: December 2013

The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA; Helsinki) has invited comments on proposal for harmonized classification and labelling (CLH) for nine copper compounds: copper (II) oxide; copper (II) dihydroxide; copper flakes (coated with aliphatic acid); copper sulfate pentahydrate; copper (I) thiocyanate; copper (I) oxide; dicopper chloride trihydroxide; copper (II) carbonate—copper (II) hydroxide (1:1); and Bordeaux mixture, reaction products of copper sulfate with calcium dihydroxide. The CLH proposals for these copper compounds were submitted by France.


 PRW: December 2013

The rules covering the application of biocidal products in food contact materials and articles need to be properly thought through, as their regulation by two regimes - the food contact materials Framework Regulations (EC) 1935/2004 (FR) and the new Biocides Products Regulation (BPR) can lead to regulatory uncertainties. This is the warning from Dr Anna Gergely, director of EHS Regulatory (and a patent lawyer) at the Brussels offices of Steptoe & Johnson.

Dr Gergely argues there is disconnect between some of the measures falling under the scope of the FR and the BPR. "I believe there is some overlap between these two regimes and at the same time the details of compliance requirements are not yet defined," she said at the Smithers Pira Plastics & Paper in Contact with Foodstuffs conference in London this week.

The European Commission has published a discussion document which attempts to identify necessary changes to the food contact legislation and appropriate interpretation of the rules of BPR related to food contact applications to avoid potential discrepancies between these two independent regimes.

It proposes that the authorisation of active substances should be carried out under the framework of the BPR and  an additional assessment should also be required to ensure the safety of their application in food contact applications by setting Specific Migration Limits SM as provided by the Framework Regulation.

The issue is especially complex for surface biocides in food contact plastics applications, as these substances are regarded as food contact additives because they are added to the food contact material to exert a technological function in the finished article. Dr Gergely said that interpretations are  urgently needed about the regulatory status of surface biocides which are already used in plastic food contact materials under national legislation, as currently these active substances are included on the so called provisional list under the Plastics Regulation (EC) 10/2011, which permits their use in food contact plastics applications in accordance with national law.

However, as since 1 September 2013, food contact plastics applications incorporating surface biocides are regulated by the BPR on a harmonised level, the new rules of the BPR need to be respected. This means that they can only be placed on the market for such uses when properly authorised under the biocides regime, subject to transitional measures.


 European Cleaning News: November 2013

HARTMANN has introduced pre-saturated tissues for surface disinfection. The pre-soaked disinfection wipes from HARTMANN are a modern alternative to conventional surface disinfection. The Bacillol® 30 Tissues gently and reliably disinfect surfaces of mobile phones and other mobile communication devices, touch screens and monitors. In addition, they are suitable for the cleaning disinfection of non-immersible medical devices. In addition, Bacillol® AF Tissues are the new remedy for the rapid disinfection of alcohol-resistant surfaces.

All pre-saturated surface disinfection wipes feature a well-balanced combination of soaking solution and premium fleece for optimal release of active ingredients to the surface.