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As consumers and customers increasingly call for products free of toxic chemicals, many companies want to embed these concerns for human health and the environment into their products. Using sustainable chemicals and materials can differentiate a company’s product or brand from its competitors, reduce the risk of the “toxic du jour” being found in products, and improve the health of consumers, employees, and workers. Making the use of safer chemicals and materials part of a company’s core values requires strong corporate policies, ingredient disclosure incentives for suppliers, and the coordination of product design, engineering, manufacturing and procurement.
Pure Strategies’ work with large and small companies in this area has helped businesses shift their approach to managing chemical risks to focus on the use of cleaner and safer materials. Our work includes:
The lack of transparency about chemicals used in a company’s supply chain can make product and packaging innovation extremely challenging. Stonyfield Farm found an innovative way to address its concerns about suppliers claiming that the additives they use in their materials are proprietary. When Stonyfield launched its new plant-based (PLA) plastic yogurt containers, Pure Strategies developed a Safe Additives Guide for the company’s packaging suppliers to ensure that the packaging material was free of hazardous chemicals that could leach out of the PLA plastic into the yogurt.
Pure Strategies examined specific substances and classes of chemicals that might be used as additives for PLA plastic against a set of stringent health and safety criteria to develop a list of explicitly prohibited chemicals of high concern. Now Stonyfield suppliers must verify that no chemicals on the list are present in their materials and the company’s consumers are protected from possible exposure to a variety of hazardous chemicals.
“We’ve worked with Pure Strategies for over twelve years on projects ranging from carbon footprinting to green chemistry. Most recently, Pure Strategies helped us address the challenge of keeping potentially dangerous plastic additives out of our packaging. Pure Strategies developed a technical, but user-friendly tool for our suppliers to use to screen additives so that we could go well beyond FDA requirements in assuring the health and integrity of our packaging. Pure Strategies has been a critical, valued strategic partner in our sustainability initiatives.”
Nancy Hirshberg, Vice President of Natural Resources, Stonyfield Farm, Inc.
When searching for substitutes for hazardous chemicals, it is important to ensure the chemicals used as substitutes are less hazardous than the chemicals they will replace. Pure Strategies has conducted numerous studies for companies and the public sector that identify safer substitutes for high hazard substances.
For Maine‘s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), Pure Strategies assessed the availability of safer alternatives to replace the use of decabromodiphenyl ether (deca) in plastic shipping pallets. Deca, one of the most common brominated flame retardants, is persistent and bioaccumulative in the environment, and the risks it poses to health can magnify through the food chain. Pure Strategies looked at both safer alternative flame retardants and at alternative management strategies or products that could reduce fire risks and meet shipping requirements. We identified non-halogenated flame retardant substitutes and analyzed them using the Green Screen approach that includes the 15 hazard endpoints below. In addition, Pure Strategies evaluated whether flame retardants were needed in plastic pallets at all and whether non-flame retardant products could meet the same need. Our study found that management strategies alone could not meet fire protection needs, but that there are safer flame retardants firms can use to meet pallet flammability requirements.
Green ScreenHazard Endpoints
Chronic aquatic toxicity
Systemic toxicity/repeated dose
Acute aquatic toxicity