Our industry, like many other manufacturing industries, makes use of numerous chemicals and materials that provide important performance characteristics to help our products to deliver their benefits to life science research and human health. In addition, we sell chemicals and reagents for analytics and synthesis in research laboratories.
The chemicals we use have a wide range of applications and performance impacts, as well as a wide range of potential impacts on health and safety. We take our responsibility to choose chemicals and materials that have the best combination of performance, safety, limited environmental impact or toxicity, availability, and cost-effectiveness very seriously. We actively explore and assess the viability of alternatives to chemicals that may be of higher concern with respect to safety or potential toxicity. We are committed to supporting our customers in their efforts to select and use more sustainable options.
As we build on our long-standing commitment to responsible chemical management, we are integrating the latest concepts in Sustainable Chemistry (also referred to as Green Chemistry). We refer to the comprehensive definition set forth by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and also to the specific guidance in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s 12 Principles of Green Chemistry.
We are working on incorporating these definitions and guidelines into our product sustainability criteria and definitions in order to best capture improvements made to our chemical and solvent products, while adhering to these broadly supported frameworks for green chemistry.
Key ways in which we are enacting our commitment to Green Chemistry include:
- Embracing and supporting the leading concepts in Green Chemistry;
- Developing internal guidance for identification of more sustainable chemical products, including solvents;
- Implementing the Responsible Care Global Charter and its principles which are focused on improving performance within the chemical industry with regard to product safety, environmental protection, health, plant safety, and security; and
- Ensuring the safe handling of chemicals within our operations.
As we continue with our greener chemistry efforts, we are offering customers several more sustainable alternatives to conventional chemicals, reducing wasted product, eliminating toxic contents, improving biodegradability, lowering associated emissions and sourcing renewable ingredients. These products showcase certain specific benefits over typical alternative products, though at this time no analysis of potential trade-offs or other impacts has been completed.
Renewable Resources for Solvents
Our bioethanol offers a non-synthetic alternative to synthetically produced chemicals. Bioethanol was the first greener solvent we made available to customers, and we continue to work to provide additional renewable material-based solvents, as well as products with lower toxicity and hazard characteristics. Production of bioethanol is a less toxic process than typical ethanol manufacture. Our EMPLURA® product line of solvents is also being expanded to include products derived from renewable resources, such as corn cobs and sugar cane bagasse. Our forthcoming EMPLURA® 2-Methyl THF, an alternative to Dichloromethane and Tetrahydrofuran, is one example.
Greener Solvent Alternatives
Solvents possess many useful properties, and also can exhibit toxic, flammable and polluting characteristics if not handled properly. Our greener solvents show improvements of certain characteristics over the alternative solvents commonly used for a given application. These products may be safer with reduced hazard or lower volatility, or may contribute to reduced environmental impacts by increased biodegradability.
We developed the Extran® AP 33 antifoam agent with the same effectiveness as its predecessor, but without formaldehyde, a toxic chemical and carcinogen or NTA (Nitrilotriacetic acid), a known human health hazard. The updated Extran® MA05, AP16 and AP17 products do not contain NTA as a complexing agent, which is subject to labeling as carcinogenic.
Spectroquant® Nitrate Test Kit
Providing measurements to ensure water quality for drinking water and wastewater treatment, our Spectroquant® test kits offer a range of testing capabilities. Our nitrate test kit was developed expressly to provide a less toxic alternative to conventional cadmium based tests. The direct measurement approach with Spectroquant® uses dimenthyl phenol which is corrosive, instead of cadmium, which is toxic and carcinogenic.
XXS Product Line
Our new XXS product line offers familiar products in waste-minimizing sizes. These small quantities suit laboratory experiment applications and eliminate waste up front by right-sizing the solution to the job at hand. The smaller size also limits contact with toxic chemicals and decreases risk of accidents, such as fire or explosion. The XXS product line matches the first principle of Green Chemistry very well: it is better to prevent waste than to treat or clean up waste after it is formed.