To some extent the "green won’t clean” association holds a degree of truth, but in today’s markets it is generally a misconception. Please let me explain.
Not long ago, when the trend for "environmentally friendly” chemical products began to gather steam, the rush for chemical manufacturers to be first in line resulted in a greater emphasis to get product to the market than on making sure it offered the same or better performance efficiencies when compared to older alternatives. Little concern (other than a lot of hype) was given to the promotional wording associated with these first entrants to the green cleaner era. Statements typical of the use of the "environmentally friendly” quote above, were energetically pushed and presented to the market place. In fact, "environmentally friendly” is a vague, ambiguous, and non specific term that implies a nice message, but does nothing to substantiate its meaning. The green trend began with a surge of positively implied statements, most of which could not be certified, and many shown to be actual misrepresentations. Most all of this rampant advertising took priority over efforts to make sure the products came anywhere close to providing real value for the buyer.
Advertisers targeted a growing and sincere interest of buyers to purchase products that were truly beneficial for environmental concerns. Unfortunately for us all, the promotional hype that sold these products frequently resulted in a performance level that lagged far behind the positive image generated in their ads. In the end, the common experience when these products were put to use, was an almost universal dissatisfaction with performance. Disgruntled opinions of users in many industries did not take very long to spread from one company to the next. This misfortune was not just a generalized dissatisfaction, but it actually delayed an awareness of the real and valuable benefits that could be achieved from the use of chemistry specifically formulated TO AVOID negative impacts on Our Environment! As this article is titled, it is this "If it is Green, It Won’t Clean” opinion, which began to quickly mask the enormous benefits of environmentally focused and designed products. This overshadowing of a better understanding is hopefully coming to an end. That was yesterday; but here are today’s influencing factors that will insure a strong and positive image for "green chemistry” going forward. Today’s Choice: For today’s consumer, whether individual or industry, there are readily available methods to insure actual product efficiency as well as any associated claim of environmental benefit. There are agencies/organizations devoted to instruct, educate, and require chemical product manufacturers to specifically comply with "guideline standards” for products they produce. Most notably, the U.S. EPA comes to mind because of its authority for enforcing environmental regulations. Under the umbrella of their authority, the EPA’s "Safer Choice" was established to work and collaborate with the chemical industry for products that Can Be Substantiated” as "Safer”, for the environment and people. For manufacturers willing to participate in this "voluntary” program, stringent criteria are mandated which form the stepping stones for EPA/Safer Choice recognition. Not only do candidates face critically detailed laboratory examinations to establish the toxicology profile of their products, but applicants must also substantiate their product "performance efficiencies” specific to applications for which the product was designed! If successful through this intended to be rigorous scrutiny, applicants are awarded a "Recognized Partnership Agreement” for their product and company. This achieved recognition also grants the right of use of the U.S. EPA/Safer Choice Logo on their product label and literature.
Not all chemical manufacturers have chosen to pursue this avenue. On the other hand, a company truly focused on principles for worker and environmental safety, would quickly jump aboard this program. Of the many advantages this approach offers, the user or buyer now has a unique leverage to make sure their required needs are met with competent levels of performance, and a veracity of their promotional claims. The simple leverage; ask your vendor to see the EPA/Safer Choice label. If unavailable, require the vendor to provide substantiations for their products claims.
The Federal Trade Commission:
The "EPA/Safer Choice” criterion of recognition is a serious and stringent process designed to establish "veracity” for all safety aspects of recognized products. For the consumers benefit, the EPA/Safer Choice program also requires recognized partners to comply with the Federal Trade Commission’s "Guides for the Use of Environmental Marketing Claims” (16 CFR Part 260; revised 2012; ). These guidelines require that "all claims to be legally defensible; should not be generalized because they are difficult if not impossible to substantiate; must be substantiated by a reasonable basis of competent and reliable scientific evidence; must be accurate and precise; and should not expressly or impliedly over-state or over-generalize”. The EPA/Safer Choice programs go on to forewarn: "the FTC intends to aggressively enforce its regulations. The FTC Act makes it unlawful to use deceptive acts and practices in or affecting commerce”.
The Beginning of the End for Misconceptions:
We are uniquely happy that the EPA/Safer Choice program, combined with the oversight of the Federal Trade Commission, now offers a confidence for the consumer to restore credibility for performance in green chemistries. A manufacturer can no longer just say "our product performs”. The EPA/Safer Choice mandates that products that bear the Safer Choice Logo must prove their performance efficiency! Now the FTC enforces the regulations to insure that yesterday’s ambiguity and hype are gone!
A Win-Win for Everyone:
A Win-Win for Everyone:
We are extremely pleased to see the evolution of "Substantiation and Veracity” controls in today’s market place. While some may continue to use older marketing techniques, these days are limited. For the consumer it offers a positive tomorrow, and for the manufacturer it restores credibility for companies that focus on the principles of chemical safety; for the environment and for people.
We are proud our L-44®products bear the "U.S. EPA/Safer Choice” Label.
"I have been using degreasers for many years and have never had the quality of degreaser that I am now using with the L-44® ECD. It reduces the amount of time I have to spend in the engine room cleaning which allows me more time to concentrate on my other duties. The younger generation of engineers are going to be spoiled by using a higher quality of degreaser than we had to use in the past. They will spend less time cleaning and no burning or skin irritation when it comes in contact with your skin.”
Rick Myers, Chief Engineer , M/V Twyla Luhr