Monday, May 4, 2009

Beached Whales Should Die

It maybe startling to accept but those beached whales are so stressed and dehydrated their chances for survival are almost nil. The same can be said about old premises and practices. They wash up on a beach for a reason.
The worldwide president of Givaudan, Michael Carlos recently said in a keynote speech to the Fragrance Material Association, "the desire to know more increases exponentially." He urged industry cooperation and sound science in the service of intellectual property protection and consumer and NGO education. The FMA has been very active in defending the industry's record of long term safe use of fragrance materials for human toxicity currently under regulatory scrutiny. Meanwhile they have characterized as either unfounded, non-scientific and emotional, the various positions of the NGO's. And the FMA wants the same human testing institutions that are supported by member dues to provide and coordinate much of the required environmental test data under their definitions of risk, allowable usage levels, historical consumption, necessary supply chain research cost support and, the most remarkable attribute, it's value for creativity. Think how unresponsive and defensive those criteria are as more fish roll in with the tide. And who is responsible for the cost?

Mr. Carlos did float a value statistic that Fragrances account for 6% or less of a given consumer products cost, while it actually drives 50% of the value in consumer eyes. Very very true for purchase interest but another Givaudan president drove the exact same point to the Green Nose 30 years ago. Then the purpose was to get price increases. 

The sound science that the EPA's DfE will be presenting is to keep our waterways safe for consumption. We know that water treatment is not able to eliminate persistent classes of aromatic or natural chemicals. Prevention is the solution not risk vs uncertainty and temporary measures. 

We also know there is something to do. The work is what matters. Starting with incorporating safe fragrances that are used in cleaning products that are rinsed down the drain will make an immediate difference. It is a small change for a much larger cause. The companies that start now will capture the full opportunity and not be the next carcass on a beach.  

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