PROTECTING THE ENVIRONMENT

The first step in protecting the environment is understanding the environment. P&G’s Environmental Stewardship Organization helps to develop that understanding and to ensure that our products and ingredients are compatible with the environment.

  • Environmental Risk Assessment (ERA)

    Decisions to use an ingredient are based on environmental risk assessments, which combine fate and effects research.
    Environmental risk assessments (ERAs) demonstrate that our ingredients and products are safe for natural ecosystems. All ingredients have to pass environmental risk assessments before they are safety-cleared for the market.
    ERAs systematically evaluate the ecotoxicity and biodegradability of each ingredient.

    For more information, please go to the Environmental Risk Assessment page.

  • Environmental Fate

    What Happens to Products after Use
    Environmental fate scientists study where a chemical goes in the environment and what it does when it gets there. Much of this effort is dedicated to understanding the environmental fate and toxicity of P&G ingredients before, during and after wastewater treatment.
    To study the fate of an ingredient, we usually start with computer-based tools, QSPRs (Quantitative Structure Property Relationships), to predict the chemical properties of the substance. This information is combined with measured fate data and with the amount of the ingredient sold. Then a computer- based fate model predicts the concentrations of our ingredients in each environmental compartment (river water, river sediment, sludge amended agricultural soil, groundwater, air). To ensure that these models are accurate, the results are often compared with measured environmental concentrations determined during monitoring studies.

    To understand the concentration of consumer product ingredients in the environment, we have to understand wastewater treatment plants. After testing how a detergent ingredient biodegrades in wastewater treatment processes, the next step in understanding its environmental fate is to develop environmental exposure models to anticipate its concentration levels.
    The exposure models are then tested and refined through environmental monitoring (collecting samples from various sites and measuring the concentrations of detergent ingredients). Environmental monitoring validates and improves the entire environmental fate process.

    For more information, please go to the Environmental Fate page,the Modelling and Monitoring page, and the Wastewater Treatment page.

  • Quantitative Structure Activity Relationship (QSAR)

    QSARS are mathematical equations assigned to chemical structures that allow scientists to rapidly determine whether a particular substance could be harmful to the environment. With QSARS, P&G researchers can decide at an early phase what additional data is needed before including certain ingredients in a product’s formulation whether to include certain chemicals in a product’s formulation.
    Computational chemistry is the field of science that combines mathematics and chemistry. It deals with finding relationships called Quantitative Structure Property Relationships (QSPRs) or Quantitative Structure Activity Relationships (QSARs).
    P&G uses QSARs to assign mathematical equations between chemical structures to rapidly assess a substance’s environmental fate, toxicity and biodegradation, allowing P&G scientists to exclude any ingredients that may be harmful to human health and the environment at an early stage in a detergent’s formulation.

    For more information, please go to the QSARs page.

  • Ecotoxicology

    Ecotoxicology is the study of how chemicals affect the environment and the organisms living in it. Scientists working on protecting the environment know that all organisms are connected in the web of life. If a chemical affects some of the organisms, other organisms in the ecosystem may suffer from its ecotoxicity since organisms depend on one another.
    From 1987 to 2001, P&G operated an Experimental Stream Facility (ESF) to test the impact of detergents ingredients on aquatic ecosystems.

    For more information, please go to the Ecotoxicology page.

  • Eco-Epidemiology

    Ecological Epidemiology or Eco-Epidemiology is the study of both the chemical and physical nature of the environment, examining how together they contribute to the health of the ecosystem.
    Scientists who study the environment tell us know that all organisms are connected in the web of life. If a chemical affects some organisms, other organisms in the ecosystem may suffer since all organisms depend on one another.

    For more information, please go to the Eco-Epidemiology page.

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Illustrations from P&G's Science-in-the-Box website can be used freely for educational, non-commercial purposes provided that the source will be published as follows: "Obtained from www.scienceinthebox.com (P&G website)"

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