ACI President and CEO Melissa Hockstad spelled it all out for members during the recent Annual Meeting & Industry Convention, which was held January 29 to February 2. Once again, more than 900 industry executives from nearly 30 countries headed to Orlando to do business, hear regulatory updates and catch up with former colleagues. But attendees also learned more about the issues that are on the top of ACI’s agenda in 2018.
“ACI is sharpening its saw to make sure that it is working on the issues that have the most meaning and impact for our members,” explained Hockstad. “We’ve been working on a range of issues including liquid laundry packets tomake sure that users still have safe use and access to the products. We’re working on antimicrobial issues to make sure that consumer, institutional and healthcare users continue to have access to these products, as well as working on a range of safety and effectiveness testing for a number of ingredients.”
ACI has also been working on a range of sustainability activities that are focused on “bold, collective action” to move the industry forward,” according to Hockstad, who added that more will be revealed on sustainability later this year.
“At the end of the day, we are laser focused to make sure that we are working on the issues that are most important to our members,” she concluded.
Those issues were front and center during ACI’s industry update session, where ACI and committee members from industry provided insights on the issues impacting the Institute’s members.
Mike Prentiss of Procter & Gamble and ACI General Counsel and VP-government affairs Doug Troutman reviewed several of the activities related to ingredient communication and transparency, including enactment of California SB 258, Cleaning Products Right to Know Act, in October 2017. The law requires cleaning product manufacturers to disclose the bulk of their ingredients on labels and online.
“We’ve been working on this (transparency issues) for more than a decade,” recalled Prentiss. “Consumers and NGOs want more and more information, and our industry is at the forefront of the issue.”
But while Prentiss was quick to note that California’s bill was developed collaboratively, New York is embarking on an ingredient transparency bill of its own. Prentiss assured the audience that the ACI Ingredient Communication Task Force is carefully monitoring the situation and is determined to protect confidential business information. Still, he warned that the issue of transparency is not going to go away any time soon. In fact, according to ACI, there are seven states with active ingredient transparency and labeling initiatives; in addition to California and New York, they include Alaska, Minnesota, New Jersey, Oregon and Washington. ACI is also wary of similar efforts emerging in Connecticut, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Vermont.
Liquid Laundry Packs
The use and abuse of alcohol and drugs has been a plague on college campuses for decades. Now, college kids are taking stupidity in a whole new direction by encouraging one another to take The Tide Pod Challenge; i.e., putting Tide Pods or other unit dose laundry detergents in their mouths and even cooking with them. But health officials and industry executives are not amused. Medical experts note that consumers who ingest even a small amount of concentrated detergent can cause diarrhea and vomiting. In some cases, some of the detergent could even find its way into the lungs and cause breathing difficulties, according to experts.
Doubly unfortunate for industry, The Challenge was popularized on YouTube and other social media challenges just as it appeared that accidental ingestion of unit pack formulas had died down.
Just last month, New York State legislators joined a coalition of consumer groups calling on P&G to overhaul its colorful liquid detergent Tide Pods and urging passage of their bill (S100A/A4646A) to create stronger safety regulations for liquid packets.
In response, ACI said the legislation is unnecessary because there are already comprehensive activities taking place addressing the safety of detergent packets.
“Manufacturers of liquid laundry detergent packets are fully committed to reducing accidental exposures to these products, which are used safely in homes across all the United States, including those in the state of New York,” said ACI in a statement. “Manufacturers have already made major changes to their packaging including the harder to open packaging, the addition of easy-to-understand safety icons, improving warning labels to advise proper use and storage instructions.”
ACI also noted that by the end of 2016, more than 99% of all liquid laundry packets shipped to retailers were in compliance with the ASTM standard. ASTM International has a process in place to monitor these interventions and determine their impact on reducing accidents.
In addition, ACI launched Packets Up!, a consumer education initiative as part of industry’s ongoing effort to help reduce the number of accidents related to liquid laundry packets. As part of the program, ACI launched an educational microsite, www.packetsup.com, which offers resources to encourage safe laundry room practices.
During the issues session, Kimberly Eberwine (Procter & Gamble), Jillaine Dellis (Henkel) and Nancy Bock (ACI) provided an update on industry efforts to educate consumers about liquid laundry packet safety.
“We’re going to see more activity regarding this topic,” warned Eberwine. “Increased media coverage of college kids eating packets will bring regulators, NGOs and others back to the topic of packet safety.”
The Packets Up! website includes consumer research, child activity sheets and videos encouraging safety in the laundry area.
“Videos are a quick and easy way to educate,” explained Bock, noting that one video alone had more than one million views.
Education of a different kind is the goal of Exploration Clean, ACI’s online program designed to teach middle-school students the science and chemistry behind cleaning. According to ACI, it’s the first leg of a platform designed to educate children about the benefits of a career in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), and more specifically, how all four disciplines play a role in creating cleaning products.
“We want kids to get interested in the industry at a young age,” explained Brian Sansoni, VP—sustainability initiatives. & VP-communication & membership. “Our industry needs the next generation of toxicologists, formulators and researchers. We hope to plant a seed with kids with Exploration Clean.”
ACI is hoping to plant more seeds with regulators, too. The Institute continues to work toward convincing FDA about the important role that topical antiseptics play in health and safety. Steve Christenson of Ecolab, Ernesto Lippert of Lonza and Rich Sedlak of ACI provided an update on the program. The ACI program has 27 member companies engaged with supporting five active ingredients: benzalkonium chloride, benzethonium chloride, chloroxylenol, ethanol and povidone-iodine, across multiple product categories. This year, the Institute is conducting microbiology and toxicology studies to support product efficacy.
“We know that these products kill germs,” asserted Christenson. “Thanks to ACI, we get our story out to regulators.”
ACI may take the lead in the US, but it’s not alone on the world stage. Once again the Institute invited sister organizations from around the world to update convention attendees on issues of importance. Shannon Coombs, CEO of the Canadian Chemical Specialties Association (CCSPA), noted that the country’s chemical management plan has entered phase 3 and will be completed by 2020. Coombs urged attendees to engage with CMP3 to help classify the remaining 444 substances on the list.
According to Coombs, CCSPA has worked proactively with Government to provide science to defend business-critical substances on CMP3.
Elsewhere, she credited CCSPA’s efforts in holding off GHS regulations for one year and protecting confidential business information. Coombs warned, however, that costs surrounding disinfectant waste fees are set to soar, with a 300% increase the board expected in mid-2019.
Carlos R. Berzunza Sanchez detailed some of the efforts of CANIPEC, which represents the $21 billion cosmetic, personal care and household care industries in Mexico.
In a jab at US President Donald J. Trump’s “Build-the-Wall” bluster, Sanchez noted many companies that dominate the US cleaning market; i.e., Procter & Gamble, Unilever and RB, are also the market leaders in Mexico.
“We live in an integrated world and an integrated reality,” he reminded the audience.
With reports on New World activities complete, Roberto Scazzola of International Association for Soaps, Detergents and Maintenance Products (AISE), assured attendees that “the Old Continent is Back! The economy is really growing, Brexit is not so powerful and the terrorist and refugee crises are under control.”
Scazzola did admit that in Europe, “we do like a lot of regulations; but you can learn from us via REACH and other regulatory programs!”
Most recently, for example, Europe recently approved very difficult biocidal regulations and he noted that EU detergent regulations are estimated to cost industry anywhere from €764 million to €1.8 billion.
“Therefore, regulatory simplification is a key strategy for AISE,” he concluded.
Sanjay Trivedi of the Indian Home & Personal Care Industry Association (IHPCIA), noted that India is transforming itself into a new nation that will have 1.45 billion citizens by 2050. With that many people, the soap and detergent industry is growing 8% a year, with about 65% of sales coming from low-cost products.
IHPCIA was formed in 1956 and during the past 60+ years has grown to 1,400 member companies including multinationals like Procter & Gamble and Unilever, which have been joined by local players such as Godrej and Trivedi.
“Change is constant in India,” observed Trivedi, noting that the economy fell into a brief decline following Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s demonetization policy, which was designed to eliminate black market money. At the same time, the plan has improved tax returns and encouraged digitalization.
An update on Japan’s detergent market was provided by Tsutomu Katagiri of the Japan Soap & Detergent Association. He noted that detergent sales are growing steadily and that one of the newest formulation trends is powder formulas that eliminate body odor and malodors.
Katagiri told attendees that Japanese consumers are beginning to enjoy fragranced products, and industry continues to look for ways to reduce packaging.
“We can reduce packaging by 12% just by getting rid of the handle,” he explained.
Finally, the international portion of the ACI program came to a close with an Australian update provided by Bronwyn Capanna, ACCORD Australasia, who said the industry is struggling with unstable policy development.
“We are the solution rather than the problem,” Capanna asserted.
To set the record straight on the benefits of household cleaning products, industry has created Furphies.org.au, a website designed to clarify misconceptions about cosmetics, personal care and household products. The site tackles a range of controversial subjects including:
- Cleaning products and asthma;
- Household cleaning—natural and chemical free?;
- Laundry detergent and phosphorous; and
- The hygiene hypothesis.
At the same time, ACCORD is in the forefront of eliminating microbeads in formulations via its Bead Recede program. On the regulatory front, Capanna noted that Australia is rarely the first market to launch new products, so the country often relies on existing data to reinforce industry’s position. For example, she called AISE’s GHS work an extraordinary resource for Australia.
“It demonstrates (the benefits) of our great partnerships!” she concluded.
For more on the ACI Annual Meeting & Industry Convention, visit Happi.com.