|A Chemir Analytical Services employee hard at work.|
Laboratories strive to meet the challenges of global regulatory issues and growing consumer expectations.
A chemist is in need of a key raw material that has become difficult to obtain. She wants a
reasonable substitute that will not compromise the quality of the product and will also secure a profitable future for the company’s brand.
Another chemist has three salves but desires an end product that blends characteristics of each; he also wants to develop companion items to round out the retail collection.
Enter testing services—a critical cog in the wheel of the ever-evolving household and personal products industry.
“This past year we’ve had a lot of work with individuals who have great ideas and need someone to bring them to life. With the internet, people see others become successful by advertising their product on the net, which seems to inspire others to try it themselves. As a result there will be some very interesting new products coming out in 2008,” says Christopher Palazzolo, a senior formulations scientist at Chemir Analytical Services of Maryland Heights, MO.
But no matter how dazzling the cosmetic creation, products must meet many health and aesthetic standards through a battery of tests before they make it to the retail shelf. In fact, novel methods of substantiating product differentiating claims was the top trend of the year, according to Zoe Diana Draelos, MD, a research dermatologist for Dermatology Consulting Services of High Point, NC.
“This is due to the tremendous number of products in the marketplace all vying for consumer and media attention,” notes Dr. Draelos. “A successful product needs to be unique and attract attention.”
Quality control is also a key component in today’s testing services. Household and personal care companies often have different objectives in their overall marketing effort, but their primary focus in testing is the same. In both cases, the requirements for product safety and efficacy are the most critical, notes Edward Murphy, director of marketing services for Consumer Product Testing Co., Inc. of Fairfield, NJ.
The rise of open innovation is leading to more collaboration between companies and success depends on the combined efforts of experts from multiple disciplines—including testing. Allen Zielnik, a senior science consultant at Atlas Material Testing Technology LLC, of Chicago, IL who specializes in testing the effects of environmental exposure, has seen an increase in lightfastness testing of (and resulting problems with) consumable personal care—both of the actual product and the packaging.
Mr. Zielnik attributes the rise of this particular type of testing to more products used or otherwise exposed outdoors and increased use of natural daylighting in the home and in commercial and retail locations. For example, Wal-Mart added more skylights in stores for energy efficiency. Other factors include a population shift to warmer climates prone to greater UV exposure and the demand for green formulations.
According to Robert G. McGregor, sales/marketing manager for Brookfield Engineering of Middleboro, MA, in 2007 there has been increased interest in evaluating the yield stress behavior of thicker, more luxuriant formulations. Of course, “this is in addition to standard flow curve testing for viscosity behavior,” he says.
Mr. McGregor notes that many quality control (QC) tests for viscosity are single point methods: “This means one spindle, one speed, one data point.” This approach works if the manufacturer has done sufficient evaluation work for flow behavior during formulation. According to Mr. McGregor, the more complete test for QC is to run a flow curve, which is easily done with today’s benchtop viscometers. “[It is] important to note is that the test can be done automatically without operator involvement,” he says.
Additionally, in recent years, there has been a proliferation of products that target color-maintenance, according to Dr. Trefor Evans, principal scientist at TRI-Princeton in New Jersey, who works with many consumer product hair care companies. These products may preserve natural color or safeguard chemically-colored tresses; nevertheless, this has increased the necessity to technically quantify the color of hair and understand the factors that contribute to these effects.
Hair care products are also becoming increasingly personalized as they target different ethnicities and/or demographics, adds Dr. Evans. As such, testing is also becoming more
specific and may involve experimenting on multiple hair types on an international level.
Registration, Evaluation and Authorization of Chemicals (REACH), the European system for regulating chemical safety, is another important issue for testing service companies.
According to Mr. Murphy, “REACH and its relationship to the European and worldwide markets have a very large impact upon the testing and quality programs companies will be required to put into place. Already, increases in requirements for vendors in the area of genotoxicity and mutagenicity have begun, and the ramping up of studies in other technical areas is underway.”
Mr. Zielnik notes that one effect of REACH is that some products have been or will need to be reformulated, often without full testing or understanding of the consequences on product durability. He cites the issue of stability—in light, heat, moisture and storage conditions—in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology product industries as a matter in strong correlation to REACH.
“In fact, forced degradation tests in addition to basic minimum photostability requirements are mandated to prove the safety, efficacy and stability of products,” he says. “This demonstrates that the manufacturer truly understands what conditions affect their products and demonstrates product safety and efficacy. This trend is filtering down to consumer and industrial products.”
One of the biggest news items to hit the industry this year was the toxic toothpaste scare from China, which has raised quality concerns for manufacturers. Testing services across the globe have been working hard to quell this dental
“These products are formulated by people who have never seen, or have chosen to disregard the CTFA. Anyone who uses ethylene glycol instead of propylene glycol in toothpaste does not understand even the most trivial things about chemistry,” notes Mr. Palazzolo of Chemir. “As a formulator, it is my duty to understand the ramifications of every chemical I choose to use. People are putting my products either on or in their bodies, and that is a huge responsibility.”
Mr. Zielnik notes that they have worked with many manufacturing and retail companies that have had product quality issues from China. In some cases, Atlas Material Testing Technology has equipped production facilities in China with test equipment to pre-qualify products prior to shipment overseas. For others, they have helped to develop product specifications or testing methods, and for some put together comprehensive testing and administration plans involving supplier and plant quality audits or turnkey testing facilities, or arranged for them under contract.
On the Way
The next year will present new challenges in the testing services industry. Mr. Murphy of Consumer Product Testing says the recent release of the Final Sunscreen Monograph created considerable interest in that marketplace, as clearer guidelines for UVA testing and a broader perspective on sunscreen testing has been put forth.
Partnering will also be important in 2008, notes Mr. Palazzolo of Chemir, who has seen plenty of R&D departments that seem to be struggling. “It’s not a competence thing, it’s a volume thing. Unreasonable demands cannot be met, especially involving a time-line,” he adds.
Mr. Zielnik says that more environmental exposure testing of products as packaged—especially to validate shelf stability and as-used—and an increased testing of product under transport and storage conditions, especially when bulk shipped from Asia to western markets, as a forthcoming trend for 2008. Increased consultation with testing and validation experts during product and package design and development prior to release and more use of the failure mode and effects analysis (FMEA) approach to pre-determine issues and products will also be seen more at testing centers.
Building a Bridge
In the next year, the expansion of services into broader arenas in microbiology, chemistry and clinical studies will require a strong understanding by those in the industry of the various regulatory and safety requirements around the world, according to Mr. Murphy.
As the global economy continues to grow, and new products come forth from industry, it is important that the testing industry not only understand the programs it provides, but the impact of studies across multinational markets.
Dr. Evans of TRI-Princeton agrees with Mr. Murphy—for 2008, building improved relationships and correlations between technical measures and consumer perception is key.
In addition, consumers and scientists don’t necessarily use the same language—and, even if the same words may be used, the target market’s jargon does not necessarily relate to the strict technical definitions.
According to Dr. Evans, continued advancement in this area will help to better understand these relationships and to help in the integration of true technical benefits into the household and personal care market.
Testing Services Directory
Here is a list of testing service laboratories. For more information on the companies listed, contact the company directly using the information provided.
4 Enterprise House, Manchester Science Park, Lloyd Street North
Manchester M15 6SE
Tel: (44) 161 232 4690
Fax: (44) 161 232 4699
Specialties: Personal care, oral care evaluation for safety and efficacy.
Advantis Laboratories Ltd.
Celan House, 13 Lawson Hunt Ind. Park, Guildford Road
Horsham West Sussex RH12 3JR
Tel: (44) 140 326 1500
Fax: (44) 140 325 4493
Specialties: Cosmetic product development, stability & compatibility testing, micro testing, cosmetic safety assessments.
1213 Stewart St.
Irving, TX 75061
Tel: (972) 254-1429
Fax: (972) 254-1582
Specialties: Formulations and product analysis.
Atlas Materials Testing
4114 N. Ravenswood Ave.
Chicago, IL 60613
Tel: (773) 327-4520
Fax: (773) 327-5787
Specialties: A variety of xenon, carbon-arc, fluorescent and metal halide weathering instruments. ISO 17025 and ISO 9001:200 registered.
Australian Photobiology Testing
Suite 204-205 Ross St. Building AO3, University of Sydney
New South Wales 2006, Australia
Tel: (61) 2-9351-3878
Fax: (61) 2-9351-4732
Specialties: In vivo and in vitro characterization of sunscreens. Irritancy, allergy, skin lightening/whitening; anti-inflammatory.
11 Commerce Blvd.
Middleboro, MA 02346
Tel: (508) 946-6200
Fax: (508) 946-6262
Specialties: Variety of viscosity testing services capable of measuring Newtonian and non-Newtonian fluids using a wide range of spindle geometries. Detailed test results include equipment and measurement system description and viscosity data.
Chemir Analytical Services
2672 Metro Blvd.
Maryland Heights, MO 63043
Tel: (800) 659-7659
Fax: (314) 291-6630
Specialties: Formulation, deformulation, impurity profiles, degradation studies, contaminant analysis, failure analysis, consulting services and litigation support.
Clinical Research Laboratories, Inc.
371 Hoes Lane
Piscataway, NJ 08854
Tel: (732) 981-1616
Fax: (732) 981-0520
Specialties: Dermatology, photobiology, ophthalmology, bioinstrumentation, microbiology, cosmetology, consumer research evaluation and clinical trials. Specialized in the testing of antimicrobials, disinfectants, mouth rinses, toothpastes, antibiotics and sanitizers.
Consumer Product Testing Co., Inc.
70 New Dutch Lane
Fairfield, NJ 07004
Tel: (973) 808-7111
Fax: (973) 244-7507
Specialties: Expanded capabilities include analytical chemistry services, clinical safety, efficacy, claims validation, microbiology, sterility testing and in vitro toxicology.
Dermatology Consulting Services
2444 North Main Street
High Point NC 27262
Tel: (336) 841-2040
Fax: (336) 841-2044
Specialties: Clinical product testing, product formulation comparative testing, skin safety testing, sunburn cell testing, claims substantiation.
Essex Testing Clinic, Inc.
799 Bloomfield Avenue
Verona, NJ 07044
Tel: (973) 857-9541
Fax: (973) 857-9662
Specialties: Clinical testing for product safety, efficacy and marketing claims.
Euroderm Research Ltd.
32 Moulsham Street
Chelmsford, Essex CM2 OHX UK
Tel: (44) 01245 257219
Fax: (44) 01245 253499
Specialties: Safety, efficacy and acceptability studies.
5475 Pare St., Suite 206
Mont-Royal Quebec H4P 1P7 Canada
Tel: (866) 595-0001
Fax: (514) 343-9996
Specialties: In vivo product efficacy and safety studies.
Gibraltar Laboratories, Inc.
122 Fairfield Road
Fairfield, NJ 07004
Tel: (973) 227-6882
Fax: (973) 227-0812
Specialties: Microbiology and chemistry testing services. ISO 17025 accredited in quality control release as well as stability, cleaning and process validation, raw materials qualification and method development/validation services.
Harrison Research Laboratories, Inc.
2497 Vauxhall Road
Union, NJ 07083
Tel: (908) 688-7600
Fax: (908) 688-7601
Specialties: Independent research organization that performs human safety, efficacy and claim substantiation testing of cosmetics, sunscreen and hair products. Testing capabilities include patch, phototoxicity/photoallergy, SPF/PFA, ocular and use tests.
6088 Main & Mill Streets
Miamiville, OH 45147
Tel: (800) 785-2693
Fax: (513) 831-1217
Specialties: Cosmetic, antiperspirant/deodorant, sunscreen, odor, skin feel, irritation and sensitization, photo irritation and allergy, exaggerated use, consumer use and bioinstrumentation testing.
17551 Sky Park East, Ste. G
Irvine, CA 92861
Tel: (800) 246-8487, (949) 851-8356
Fax: (949) 851-4985
Specialties: Lowest cost, fastest, non-animal dermal and ocular irritation; also dermal corrosivity.
Libra Technical Center, LLC
101 Liberty Street
Metuchen, NJ 08840 USA
Tel: (732) 321-5200
Fax: (732) 321-5203
Specialties: Analytical research in chemistry, microbiology, and materials science, cosmetics and packaging. Compendial analyses, containers, DSC, OVI, and TOC. Authenticity, comparison and infringement.
145 South Main Street, P.O. Box 147
Hightstown, NJ 08520
Tel: (609) 443-4848
Fax: (609) 443-5293
Specialties: Child-resistant package testing, microbiological testing and process water system testing.
Product Investigations, Inc.
151 East Tenth Ave.
Conshohocken, PA 19428
Tel:: (610) 825-5855
Fax: (610) 825-7288
Specialties: Safety and efficacy testing of cosmetics and household products. Patch testing, photo-testing, use tests and protocol design.
Q Laboratories, Inc.
1400 Harrison Avenue
Cincinnati, OH 45214-1606
Tel: (513) 471-1300
Fax: (513) 471-5600
Specialties: Microbiology and analytical chemistry.
Q Research Solutions, Inc.
3548 Route 9, South, 2nd Floor
Old Bridge NJ, 08857
Tel: (732) 952-0000
Fax: (732) 952-0001
Specialties: Cosmetics, skin care, hair care, fragrance, oral care, food and beverage and household products.
55 Railroad Ave.
Ridgefield, NJ 07657
Tel: (201) 313-3353
Specialties: Cosmetics, all USP/NF, FCC, AOAC, BP/EP, JP, CTFA, in-vitro and active sunscreen analysis, method development and validation, microbiol testing.
Rapid Precision Testing Laboratory
8225 Rockcreek Parkway
Cordova, TN 38016
Tel: (901) 386-0175
Fax: (901) 386-7218
Specialties: On-site precision spectral measurement of light sources used in cosmetic testing.
Suncare Research Laboratories, LLC
2518 B Reynolda Road
Winston Salem, NC 27106
Tel: (336) 725-6501
Fax: (336) 725-6503
Specialties: SPF testing, UVA protection, in vitro, photoallergenicity, phototoxicity.
601 Prospect Avenue
Princeton, NJ 08540 USA
Tel: (609) 430-4820
Fax: (609) 683-7149
Specialties: Expertise in cosmetic treatments on hair strength, coloring, perming and more. Offers claims substantiation, product evaluation, consulting, instrument and method development, proprietary contract research, consortia research projects and professional education courses. l