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Jennifer Saxe
EcoSafety and Sustainability Inc

OpenTox Virtual Conference 2021 Session 10

Using Multiple Assessment Methods in a Customized Approach to Support Eco-Innovation for Personal Care Products 

Jennifer K. Saxe1, Lisa Hoffman2, Ramez Labib2 

1EcoSafety & Sustainability Inc., Harvard, MA USA 

2Avon Products, Inc., Suffern, NY USA 

The most effective way to ensure a product’s environmental safety is to understand and avoid potential risks at the design stage. Eco-innovation is an approach to design that accounts for sustainability, including environmental impact. A new eco-innovation support tool was developed using methods from two environmental assessment paradigms specifically aimed for use during the early design stage. Some portion of personal care products (PCPs) can enter the environment after use through wastewater. As such, environmental risk assessment (ERA) of PCPs has traditionally focused on potential impacts to aquatic organisms. More recently, regulators in Europe have proposed using life cycle assessment (LCA) to evaluate products including PCPs. This PCP eco-innovation support tool considers all impacts commonly included in ERAs and LCAs that can be evaluated with the data available at the early product design stage. The result is a rank value between one (best) and ten (worst),  representing the environmental safety profile of the product, integrating information on ten impact categories. Ecological effects, typically included in both ERA and LCA, are evaluated with the highest level of sophistication, given its known importance for PCPs. As part of that process, predicted no-effect concentrations (PNECs) are developed for water, soil, and sediment. These PNECs can be directly used in full ERAs, which are sometimes required to substantiate “green” marketing claims. Impact categories common in LCA and included here are eutrophication, photochemical ozone (smog) formation, mineral resource depletion, climate change due to direct greenhouse gas emissions, stratospheric ozone depletion. Impact categories considered in ERA approaches include the potential for bioaccumulation and secondary poisoning, contamination of groundwater, and persistence in the environment. One additional category for “other” effects is included so that newly discovered or unique concerns can be integrated into the product ranking.