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Green Chemistry and the Search for New Plasticizers

Harmon, J. Patrick, Otter, Rainer
ACS sustainable chemistry & engineering 2018 v.6 no.2 pp. 2078-2085
green chemistry, hazard characterization, ingredients, plasticizers, risk reduction
Consumers often see various “free-of” statements on labels that imply that the product is safer and more sustainable than others without such a label. The problem with these types of labels is that they say nothing about the ingredients a product is made with. Hazard assessment tools such as GreenScreen provide a way to determine whether potential product ingredients have sufficient data and low hazard to support their long-term use. Third party certifications and “positive” lists such as EPA SaferChoice and CleanGredients also may be useful in selecting the right materials. Use of these types of tools and methodologies allow formulators and processors, as well as retailers and consumer product makers, to make informed and responsible substitution decisions and to reduce the risk of future regulatory or customer restrictions. Examples of the use of GreenScreen and CleanGredients to evaluate plasticizers that are alternatives to widely used ortho-phthalates are presented. Some alternative plasticizers have sufficient data and low hazard to support their use in consumer and other products. Others might be accurately labeled as “phthalate-free” and might be safe for their intended uses, but insufficient data are available to support their use as alternatives to data-rich ortho-phthalates. Products such as DOTP and D9CH can be shown to be both well-studied and free of relevant hazard concerns.