Common Misconceptions of Natural Chemicals

 In Product Safety

By: Kirsten Alcock, Manager of Product Safety, email

One of the biggest misconceptions right now is the belief that all chemicals found in nature are non-hazardous and hence considered ‘safe’. To some degree, almost everything has the potential to be toxic to us. We can, for example, drown from drinking too much water. There are many chemicals that we come about in our daily lives in Nature that we would not eat, drink, or rub on our skin. Examples of these include but are not limited to poison ivy, some mushrooms, shellfish for those allergic, or arsenic. Many substances found in nature are in fact very deadly and poisonous.

How can I minimize the health risk from natural toxins to my clients?

Knowledge is key. It is important to know the chemistry behind the components you choose to use in your formulations. What families of chemicals cause which health effects. The effects of natural chemicals can include irritation to eyes and skin. Some individuals may be more susceptible than others to these effects.  How is your product being used? Are you advising your clients to use proper protective equipment?

Skin sensitization, for example, is common for products using citric scents. D-Limonene is a known skin sensitizer and prevalent in many orange scents. If this is something of concern to you, we can help guide you to alternatives that have not been shown to exhibit these issues.

Many scents also contain CMR’s (carcinogens, mutagens, and reproductive toxins). It may come as a surprise to hear that a natural chemical you are using to scent your product contains any of these components but it is more common than you think.

 What can Dell Tech do to help?

Dell Tech has access to a variety of sources of information. We can research the natural compounds you are using in your products and advise if the chemical in question will cause health effects, and if so, which effect(s) in particular. One thing to note while formulating your products is the difference in regulatory requirements for workplace vs. consumers. Workplace regulations vary from consumer regulations in how they classify and disclose information on the product label and safety data sheet (SDS). A product containing a carcinogen would require labeling for the workplace, but not for consumer products here in Canada. We can help you become aware of the differences when you are in the beginning stages of formulation. It can be costly to find these out after all the testing has been done and to have to start over from scratch.  It can also be difficult to market your product with a carcinogen marking on the label.

 If this is something that interests you, please contact us to see how we can help you.  

Dell Tech
Kirsten Alcock, B.Sc. (Hons) 
Manager, Product Safety Group

Dell Tech has provided professional, confidential consulting services to the chemical specialty

industry in Canada, the USA, Europe, and Asia for the last 40 years.

Contact us today for more information.

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