Meeting the Challenge

By Tom Branna, Editorial Director | January 5, 2010

From surviving and thriving in a difficult economy to working with regulators and special interest groups, the Consumer Specialty Products Association has a habit of coming through when the chips are down.

It may be the start of a new year, but for many industries and their attendant trade associations, 2010 looks an awful like 2009 with many of the same challenges. But the Consumer Specialty Products Association (CSPA) is more than up to the challenge, said chairman Frank Jusich of Central Life Sciences in his opening remarks during the Association’s annual meeting, which was held Dec. 6-10 in Fort Lauderdale, FL.

Despite the tough economy, the Association was able to reduce expenses and increase its dues base. At the same time, CSPA engaged many non-government organizations (NGOs) to create a win-win result for both groups.
“We can adapt and we have a will to win,” Jusich told the audience, which totaled 450 executives from the U.S. and around the world.

Chris Cathcart, president of CSPA, noted that during the past decade, three major trends have emerged that are having a big impact on the industry:
• Consumer concerns about products and a call for greater disclosure;
• Going green; and
• The media.

Cathcart noted that CSPA has had many discussions with groups such as Seventh Generation’s Million Baby Crawl; the National Resources Defense Council and Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families.

“We create products that improve the quality of life,” he noted. “But consumers want more information and we embrace that.”

At the same time, CSPA has taken a leadership position on Toxic Substance and Chemical Act (TSCA) reform. CSPA has testified before Congress and presented a model that EPA could use as an efficient means to prioritize chemicals. It is a risk-based model that takes into consideration both a chemical’s hazards and potential exposure. According to CSPA, chemicals identified as high priorities should be those substances with both the highest hazards and the highest potential exposures.

Joseph Healy (right) accepts the Allderdice Award from CSPA Chairman Frank Jusich.
Also on the issue of disclosure, CSPA has published its first Consumer Product Ingredient Dictionary. The dictionary was developed to standardize and define ingredient nomenclature for companies engaging in the industry’s voluntary Consumer Product Ingredient Communication Initiative, which will debut next month. According to the CSPA, the dictionary will help assure consistency in the naming of chemicals for the initiative.

On a larger scale, CSPA is engaged in the debate over chemical management policy.

“We want to be at the table when this debate takes place in Washington,” explained Cathcart. “We wish there was Federal policy to avoid this patchwork quilt for chemical management policy.”

At the same time, Cathcart noted that communication methods have changed along with traditional media. Social media is on the rise and CSPA intends to be an active player.

Following the annual breakfast meeting, CSPA held a special session on TSCA reform. The event included remarks from Rep. James E. Clyburn (D-SC), as well as representatives from the Sierra Club and the Humane Society.

Tom Meltner of the Sierra Club called TSCA, “a weak, outdated foundation,” and said his group is eager to reform the Act.

“In an election year, chemical management will be a hot topic and TSCA is big,” he told the audience.

He pointed out that CSPA and his group had made good progress on the topic of ingredient disclosure, yet he warned that two sticking points—fragrances and confidentiality—still remain, but he hoped to have found a solution to these problems by mid-January.

Sara Amundson of the Humane Society Legislative Fund told the audience that if REACH goes forward without reform, by 2018, 68,000 chemicals will be assessed on 54 million vertebrates at a cost of nearly $14 billion at current exchange rates. All those figures are unacceptable to the Humane Society and Amundson said her group is determined to make sure TSCA reform won’t duplicate the same problems as REACH. Specifically, she noted that millions of animals could be killed at a cost of billions—all for data that may not be worthy.

She noted that it is a pleasure to work with CSPA, adding “Your concerns are our concerns.”

Luckily for CSPA and its members, they have more than a few friends on Capitol Hill. One of them is Rep. Clyburn, who made the trip to Ft. Lauderdale from Washington D.C. to laud the industry for the united front it presents to Congress, and he assured attendees that TSCA reform will take their needs into consideration.

“We were able to pass a chemical safety bill in November,” he recalled. “We will be able to do the same thing with TSCA. The same kind of coalition can get this done.”

Clyburn noted that there have been great strides made in science and technology since TSCA was passed 30 years ago, making reform necessary to ensure the continued safety of U.S. consumers.

“But there must be a balance between efficiency and effectiveness,” he insisted. “With your leadership we can strike that balance.”

Disease Prevention

With cold and flu season in full swing in the U.S., what better time to discuss disease and government response to crises? The antimicrobial products division and the pest management products division sponsored a joint program entitled, “Shaping the Public Debate: How and Why Government, Media and NGOs Bring Issues to the Forefront.”

Joseph Healy Wins Allderdice Award,
McArthur Takes Chairman’s Award,
Volunteers Recognized

Joseph M. Healy, who recently retired as chairman of Kolmar Labs Group, received the Charles E. Allderdice Jr. Memorial Award, the CSPA’s highest honor. The award is presented annually to an individual who has made an exceptional contribution to the consumer specialty products industry and to CSPA.

In accepting the award, Healy said the quality of the people he worked with enabled him to win the award. During his 40-year career, he served in a variety of positions for the CSPA including president and treasurer, and he called the work he did in the association and the Alliance for Consumer Education (ACE) the most important things he had done in the industry.

“There’s more (to business) than raising market share and profits,” he concluded. “CSPA is a part of that.”

Stuart McArthur, S.C. Johson (right) accepts the Chairman's award from Frank Jusich.
Also during the breakfast session, Stuart McArthur of S.C. Johnson, won his second award of the morning when his efforts were recognized with the Chairman’s Award. Earlier, Johnson received the Volunteer award for the pesticide division (see list below).

For the past few years, CSPA has taken time out during its annual meeting to recognize members who have put in extraordinary efforts to help the association thrive. Each division honors one of its own with a Volunteer Recognition Award.
This year’s recipients were:
Aerosol: Mike Freeman, WD-40 Company;
Air Care: Eileen Hedrick, Belmay;
Antimicrobial: Kelly Naujock, S.C. Johnson;
Industrial & Automotive: Gregory Johnson, Sherwin-Williams;
Cleaning Products: Mark Cohen, NCH;
Pesticides: Stuart McArthur, S.C. Johnson; and
Polishes: Bill Waiksnoris, Honeywell.
Emily Zielinski-Gutierrez, a behavioral scientist at the Centers of Disease Control, explained how data gathering and general “buzz” both influence health policy on vector-borne diseases such as Dengue Fever, West Nile Virus and Lyme Disease, the latter of which she called one of the most common vector-borne diseases in the U.S. Although the number of Lyme Disease cases has doubled since the CDC began reporting data in 1994, consumers still don’t understand the importance of proper protection.

In her consumer research, Zielinski-Gutierrez found that there have been limited changes in repellent use in recent years despite disease risks. In a survey conducted in Summer 2008, Off! was the most often cited answer to the question, “What repellent do you use?”

Next came DEET, followed by Skin-So-Soft, Cutter and Repel. These responses suggest that consumers have little knowledge about specific active ingredients in the products they use. Moreover, even if they’ve heard of DEET, some consumers confused it with DDT, while others told her that applying DEET was worse than contracting Lyme Disease!

To change public perception about DEET and other repellents, Zielinski-Gutierrez urged the audience to collaborate with federal, state and local health departments, and academia to evaluate educational efforts and conduct studies of efficacy.

Another CDC employee, Thomas Sinks, explained how the agency responds to public health priorities. He noted that with the growth of the internet and NGOs, deciding where to put money is difficult.

“The Federal Government does not have unlimited resources,” he noted.

Therefore, the CDC reviews the burden of the disease and its severity, the population at risk and a variety of other data points. He presented several case studies where the CDC became involved when public health was threatened. One case involved a wayward exterminator who, in the 1980s, illegally sprayed methyl parathion in more than 2,500 homes along the Mississippi Valley. The material killed bugs, but it also killed two children and contaminated thousands of homes. The case was finally broken after a health official made the connection between the spraying and the illness. Similarly, CDC agents worked to debunk the link between vaccines and autism.

The Ins and Outs of NGOs

Want to know how to work effectively with representatives from NGOs? You have to think like them, said Tom Neltner of the Sierra Club. He explained that groups such as the Natural Resources Defense Council, Environmental Working Group and Environmental Defense Fund all set priorities just like most corporations do. However, other groups, including the Sierra Club, are volunteer and driven by grass root campaigns. But regardless of their structure all NGOs are opportunistic and often are most effective immediately following a tragedy. For example, these groups moved quickly to address lead in toys after a child in Minnesota died after accidentally swallowing a lead charm. NGOs also get their information from federal agency employees who leak findings to the groups in order to boost funding and get more testing conducted.

To work effectively with NGOs, Neltner urged the audience to find areas of agreement and open a dialogue with these groups.

“It’s about breaking bread and finding out where they’re coming from,” Neltner concluded.“So get to know the person, because organizations are personality driven.”

Personality also plays an important role in finding a common ground with journalists. The session’s final speaker, journalist Tom Squitieri, gave the audience some tips on dealing with the press. He too, suggested getting to know local reporters, building relationships with them, giving them the facts without buzzwords and providing them with concrete examples to help illustrate a key point.

Defending Green Claims

Green product claims were the focus of a joint session of the Cleaning Products Division and the Polishes & Floor Maintenance Divisions. David Mallen of the national advertising division(NAD) of the Better Business Bureau reviewed key issues impacting advertising self-regulation and green marketing.

NAD was established in the 1970s to uphold the integrity of advertising and to help resolve disputes among competitors. It’s been a successful program too—95% of the parties involved comply with NAD rulings. Moreover, it’s a relatively quick process with resolution occurring in 60 business days after two rounds of evidence are submitted and the contentious parties meet with NAD, with the burden of proof on the advertiser. Mallen noted that green claims are just like any other product claim.

“We take a common sense approach to the issue,” he explained.“We look at the expressed and the implied claims.”

For example, his group took Church & Dwight to task last year for a claim it made for Arm & Hammer Essentials laundry detergent. Specifically, the term “more safe for the environment,” was unacceptable for NAD and Church & Dwight removed the claim.

To help companies make acceptable claims, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) issued a Green Guide in 1998 and will update it this year. CSPA and other trade associations are expected to comment on these revisions.

Many suppliers, marketers and retailers are looking for ways to reduce their carbon footprints, and Kevin Brady of Five Winds International told the audience that we are moving toward a“lower carbon economy” that will not go away. To get a handle on this brave new world, he urged the audience to understand lifecycle assessment, which he called the backbone for assessing the carbon footprint of a product.

Damien Kelly, business development manager, Croda, explained the process that his company underwent to measure the carbon footprint of 123 products, including esters, alkanolamides, quats, ethoxylates and blends. Croda’s sustainability metrics include:
• biodegradability;
• aquatic toxicity;
• percentage of renewable carbon;
• 1,4 dioxane levels;
• raw material source;
• energy use;
• water use;
• percentage of waste;
• percentage recycled; and
• air pollution.

Following this extensive exercise, some of the key things that Croda executives learned is that natural products don’t always have a lower carbon footprint and where a particular material is manufactured can have a big impact on the carbon footprint. To study that issue more closely, Croda even looked at what would happen to a product’s carbon footprint if a banana plantation were to be converted to a palm oil plantation.

“It enables us to quantify every aspect of the supply chain and then lower the carbon footprint,” explained Kelly.

The session’s final speaker, CSPA’s Jane Wishneff, explained how the industry can increase its transparency through the voluntary ingredient disclosure initiative. The issue’s impetus came from a California Senate Bill that was introduced in 2007, but since then there have been measures on the federal level, most notably the bill sponsored by Sen. Al Franken (D-MN). Wishneff said the issue won’t go away and is being driven by NGOs such as Women’s Voices of the Earth (WVE) and the Environmental Working Group (EWG).

CSPA is encouraging its members to participate in the voluntary disclosure program, while it educates legislators, regulators and NGOs about its merits.

Adam Selisker Is CSPA Chairman

Adam Selisker, vice president, technology, CRC Industries, Inc., was elected chairman of the Consumer Specialty Products Association during the annual meeting held Dec. 6-10 in Fort Lauderdale.

“We are privileged to have this dedicated group of officers and directors to guide our industry through these extremely challenging times,” said Chris Cathcart, CSPA president. “Their expertise and deep knowledge of the issues that confront our industry provide the assurance of leadership we can count on to advance the Association’s goals at the national, state and local levels in the coming year.”

Incoming CSPA Chairman Adam Selisker (right) accepts the chairman's gavel from outgoing Chairman Frank Jusich.
Other officer include: FirstVice-Chairman of the Board – John Abplanalp, president and chief executive officer, Precision; Second Vice-Chairman of the Board – Richard Theiler, senior vice president research and development, Dial – A Henkel Company; Treasurer – William Auriemma, president and chief executive officer, Diversified CPC International, Inc.; Chris Cathcart, CSPA president; and Immediate Past Chair – Frank Jusich, president, Professional Products Group, Central Life Sciences.

The Canadian Consumer Specialty Products Association representative is J. Brian Prendergast, Senior Vice President of the Consumer Division of Recochem Inc.

Members elected to serve terms expiring in December 2010 are: Lisa Alexander, vice president, counsel to the Americas and corporate secretary, Firmenich Incorporated; Joseph Franckowiak, vice president, sales and marketing, household chemical packaging, Berry Plastics Corporation; Tom Mazurek, senior vice president, technical services, Beauty Avenue/Limited Brands; William Metzger, vice president, regulatory and government affairs, United Industries Corporation; Jeff Pinkham, vice president, global regulatory affairs, The Scotts Company; Ron E. Shuck, vice president of research and development, Diversified Brands Division, The Sherwin-Williams Company; Patricia Verduin, vice president-global research and development, Colgate-Palmolive Company; and Stanley R. Weller, chief technical officer, research and development, ZEP Inc.

Members elected to serve terms expiring in December 2011 are: Greg Adamson, global vice president, regulatory affairs and product safety, Givaudan Fragrances Corporation; Michael L. Freeman, division president of the Americas, WD-40 Company; Alan Howarth, vice president-custom packaging, Chase Products Company; Carleen Kreider, executive vice president and general manager-NA, SeaquistPerfect Dispensing; Alexander Lacik, general manager marketing US household, Reckitt Benckiser; Simon D. Medley, group vice president, care chemicals and formulators-NA, BASF Corporation; Paul Siracusa, vice president, global research and development, Church & Dwight Co., Inc.; and Dick Straathof, vice president, research and development, global home care and P&G professional, The Procter & Gamble Company.

Members elected to serve terms expiring in December 2012 are: David Beaham, president, Faultless Starch/Bon Ami Company; Michael W. Feldser, president, metal food and household products - America, Ball Corporation; Frank Pacholec, vice president, research and development, Stepan Company; Reza Rahaman, vice president, global stewardship, The Clorox Company; Bob Scharf, president and chief executive officer, Sergeant’s Pet Care Products, Inc.; Kelly Semrau, vice president, global public affairs and communication, S.C. Johnson & Son, Inc.; and James A. Westerhaus, vice president, government relations, Ecolab Inc.

Division Executive Board Chairs for 2010 are: Aerosol Products Division – John Ferring, IV, president, Plaze, Inc.; Air Care Division – Steve Tanner, president, Arylessence, Inc.; Antimicrobial Products Division – Joseph Robinson, vice president, regulatory services, Lonza, Inc.; Cleaning Products Division – Eric J. Hansen, director, chemical development, Bissell Home Care Inc.; Industrial and Automotive Specialty Chemicals Division – Ed Piszynski, vice president, laboratory services, Bridgeview Aerosol LLC; Pest Management Products Division – Nasser Assaf, regulatory manager, Valent BioSciences Corporation; Polishes and Floor Maintenance Division, Stuart Hughes, vice president, technical service, Hillyard Industries, Inc.
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