designed to affect their desired function while minimising the potential for chemical accidents. The generated by-products associated with the use of these product should possess little or no toxicity to human health and the environment.

3. Design for energy efficiency – Assess the energy requirements of the manufacture and use of products by recognising their environmental and economic impacts. For example, the production processes are conducted at ambient temperature. In addition, clean, bright and foul-free aluminium coils have an added benefit of efficient heat exchange.

4. Design for degradation – Chemical products are designed so that at the end of their function, they break down into harmless degradation compounds, and do not persist in the environment.

5. Use of renewable feedstocks - The raw materials used in the synthesis of products, including surfactants and acids, are from renewable and sustainable feedstocks.

Growing awareness among consumers about microbes in air conditioning systems is expected

to drive the demand for cleaning chemicals during the next 10 years. To fulfil this demand, unorthodox products have been introduced in the HVAC cleaning industry which potentially affect human health and the environment negatively. These products encourage and biologically foster the natural trophic reorganisation and diversity of microbes on evaporators. The diversity often increases the production of odorous nitrogen and sulphur-based by-products. Maintaining the cleanliness of the evaporators by reducing the levels of pathogens and odour is the best way to prevent threat to human safety. As such, evaporator cleaners claiming to control microbial growth must have the right British and EU standards, ensuring products adhere to the correct criteria required to kill and control the level of pathogen in air conditioning systems. These antimicrobial formulations should at least pass the BS/EN 1650, BS EN1276 and the fungal test BS/EN 13697.

The lack of performance standards and specific data requirements results in inconsistent evaluations and claims. These standards provide data on how fast the biocidal effect is produced, the duration of the effect (residuality), the types of surface on which the product can be used

and, more importantly, the quantity of microbes destroyed. The label on these products should contain information about what the antimicrobial ingredient is, and the reason for its inclusion. Environmentally, these measures prevent the excessive use and overdosing of biocidal chemicals.

Just as with any other chemical, the inappropriate use of an antimicrobial additive can have damaging environmental consequences. The standards are becoming difficult to pass with the reduction of the chemical pool available to chemists due to EU legislation.

New laws and regulations (BPR and REACH) aim to protect the ecosystem from harmful chemicals. The consumer, through the processes of green chemistry, is demanding the availability of innovative cleaning products that are less damaging to human health and the environment. The Hippocratic oath – “Above all else, do no harm” – more than anything else, defines Green Chemistry principals and the expected theme in the coming years. Embracing the challenge of creating sustainable, safer, non- toxic formulations is no longer the goal; it is the starting point in formulating for a sustainable future.


July 2018 43

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