Hazardous Chemical Evaluation Evolves at HP, S.C. Johnson, Nike

by | Oct 19, 2009

gccccLeading manufacturers are moving beyond simply ensuring that specific hazardous chemicals are absent from their products. Instead, they are going into risk prevention mode, identify all chemicals in their products and determining whether those chemicals are safe.

For example, S.C. Johnson is using a Greenlist System to evaluate and score environmental and human health and safety aspects of its product ingredients, according to a new report from the Green Chemistry and Commerce Council.

The council conducted case studies on chemical identification and mitigation at S.C. Johnson, Nike and HP, in the PDF report “Gathering Chemical Information and Advancing Safer Chemistry in Complex Supply Chains: Case Studies of Nike, S.C. Johnson, and Hewlett-Packard.”

For its part, HP is collecting data from suppliers on 240 chemicals that are not restricted, but are of “emerging concern.” HP hopes to be prepared in case any of the chemicals become restricted, and it also is looking to find safer subsitutes, according to the report.

Nike is undertaking similar efforts to identify and evaluate chemicals used in its products.

All three companies point to the importance of working with suppliers, and are asking the suppliers to provide new, greener versions of existing chemicals.

For instance, S.C. Johnson is working with suppliers to develop fragrances for home cleaning and air products that are free of phthalates, which have been associated with respiratory problems.

As HP set out to work with suppliers, it got involved in the EPEAT database, which aims to certify electronics as to their environmental impact.

Nike also is looking for an industry-wide approach to develop safer chemistry and product design, as the company believes it’s inefficient for different companies to separately search for the same data, according to the report.

Here’s a look at each of the companies’ efforts in minimizing hazardous chemical use.

chemical table

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