discarded into nature, whether it takes 10 days or 850 years. If a substance/material does not biodegrade rapidly enough, it can accumulate in the environment and eventually disrupt natural ecosystems.
Laboratory tests can simulate if a product or substance will be easily biodegraded or not once it enters the environment. The OECD 301 series methods are the most widely recognised tests that evaluate the biodegradability of a product in the presence of oxygen.
A ‘readily’ biodegradable product will degrade rapidly without the risk of accumulating in the environment (provided oxygen is present in the environment in question). But this same ‘readily’ biodegradable product may not be biodegradable in the absence of oxygen. Such products risk accumulating in lake and river sediments. The OECD 311 series methods aim to evaluate the level of biodegradability of a product under anoxic conditions.
InnuScience cleaning products only contain ingredients that are readily biodegradable and meet OECD 301. The surfactants used by InnuScience are all biodegradable under aerobic and anaerobic conditions and meet the test standards of both OECD 301 and OECD 311.
What about the water systems?
The biodegradability of a product has most recently been focused on through the battle against single-use plastics and the presence of microplastics in water systems and now in the frozen lands of the Arctic. So, what is the impact of our product in this key area? After all, water is one of the planet’s most precious resources and our cleaning solutions ultimately get flushed down drains.
Aquatic toxicity is seen as the effect of cleaning products on the aquatic fauna and flora of our lakes, rivers and water systems. All aquatic organisms are susceptible; vertebrates (animals), plants and invertebrates (crustaceans and insects). Cleaning products often contain substances that have a negative impact, either acute or chronic, on aquatic organisms. Aquatic toxicity is different from biodegradability. A highly biodegradable ingredient could still be toxic to aquatic life, and vice versa.
When developing our products, InnuScience always aims for the lowest possible aquatic toxicity. We use the parameter called CDV-tox, which we calculate for each formulation. This data reflects the aquatic toxicity of the formulation. It considers the toxicity of each ingredient and considers the useful dose (dilution rate before use) of the product. When evaluating aquatic toxicity of its formulations, InnuScience always reviews three different trophic levels: vertebrates, invertebrates and plants. Few cleaning products perform as well as InnuScience products, with low aquatic toxicity.
In a world that’s gripped by COVID-19, and with official guidance being to disinfect, we are all naturally driven to look to disinfect everything – every surface, every piece of equipment – with the mindset that if it’s disinfected it is safe. Consider all the images from around the world of governments spraying vast clouds of disinfectants across streets, car parks, and beaches. It’s important to note that such products are especially harmful to the water system
“Cleaning products often contain
substances that have a negative impact, either
acute or chronic, on aquatic organisms.”
and that to be safe, effective rigorous cleaning of all surfaces with a detergent helps remove dirt and viral load count.
Keep the disinfectants for the critical touchpoints and implement what we call ‘Justified Disinfection’. That way you achieve the safety you, your staff and customers need, while lessening the impact on the water systems and aquatic life.
So, we have looked at some of the raw materials and our position regarding environmental safety, but what about our position regarding the safety of people – an equally critical part of our company ethos.
Along with safeguarding the environment, InnuScience has always sought to eliminate the health and safety risks that are presented to the professional cleaner wherever they are on a daily basis. We have undertaken many years of research and development to get to a position where our portfolio offers cleaners the opportunity to stay safe whatever the cleaning task is.
Toxicity is the measure of a substance or product’s ability to cause adverse health effects to human (or other) organisms. A highly toxic substance will cause serious damage to a person even under limited exposure or ingestion. The effect of a product’s toxicity may be immediate (acute toxicity) or appear after repeated exposure (chronic toxicity).
Cleaning products frequently contain substances that are toxic to humans. Their effects can be felt immediately or several days, months or even years after exposure. Toxicity and exposure are intimately related; for example, prolonged and repeated exposure to a moderately toxic substance can sometimes have serious health effects. People working in the cleaning industry are particularly vulnerable to the toxic effects of cleaning products due to the frequency and duration of exposure.
InnuScience products aim to have the lowest possible toxicity classifications in their concentrated form, and once diluted for use carry no risk to workers’ health, short or long term. Toxicological impact is a key parameter taken into consideration when selecting ingredients for our products. An ingredient that may offer attractive cleaning properties is often rejected due to its toxicity level and effect. It’s part
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