John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

A risk‐based, product‐level approach for assuring aquatic environmental safety of cleaning products in the context of sustainability: The Environmental Safety Check (ESC) scheme of the A.I.S.E. Charter for sustainable cleaning

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Cleaning products have long been a focus of efforts to improve sustainability and assure safety for the aquatic environment when disposed of after use. The latter is addressed at ingredient level through environmental risk assessment including in formal frameworks such as REACH. Nevertheless, in the context of programmes to improve overall sustainability, stakeholders demand both environmental safety assurance and progress at product level. Current product level approaches for aquatic toxicity (e.g. USEtoxTM, Critical Dilution Volume) can be seen as predominantly hazard‐based. The more logical approach would be risk‐based because ecotoxicity is generally threshold dependent and hazard‐based assessment produces conflicts with risk‐based learnings. The development of a risk‐based approach to assess formulated products is described: the A.I.S.E. Charter Environmental Safety Check (ESC), which is consistent with the scientific principles underlying REACH. This is implemented through a simple spreadsheet tool and internal database of ingredient parameters including PNEC (predicted no‐effect concentration) and removal rate. A novel feature is applying market volume information for both product types and ingredients to permit a risk‐based calculation. To pass the ESC check the PESR (projected environmental safety ratio) for each ingredient as formulated and dosed (unless cleared by a published risk assessment or exempted as inherently low risk) must be less than 1. The advantages of a risk‐based approach are discussed. The strengths and limitations of various possible approaches to standard‐setting, product‐ranking and driving continuous improvement in respect of potential ecotoxic impacts on the aquatic environment are considered. It is proposed that as ecotoxicity is generally accepted to be threshold dependent, with no effect below the threshold, the most constructive approach to continuous improvement of sustainability as regards ecotoxicity is to focus efforts on instances where the safety margins for ingredients as used in specific products are narrow. This necessitates a risk‐based approach. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved

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