P&G scientists adopt a stepwise approach in testing for skin safety. The stepwise approach starts with an assessment of all available skin effects data, then moves to benchmarking with previous testing data before testing is done with volunteer panellists (starting with small control groups and then leading to larger numbers in more realistic use situations).
Stepwise Testing for Safety Assessments
Our commitment to the skin safety of all our products, and our stepwise approach to ensuring that safety, has been detailed in a number of publications by Procter & Gamble scientists. Our approach is consistent with the highest industry standards, such as outlined by the European Association of the Soap & Detergent Industry (A.I.S.E.) (see our A.I.S.E. pages).
We use a stepwise approach to ensure the skin safety and compatibility of our products. The approach starts with an evaluation of all available skin effects data on each component of the formulation from our previous testing and from the scientific literature. The ingredients and concentrations for the proposed formulation are then compared to our large number of historical product formulations to determine which products may be similar in composition and, therefore, similar in their safety profile. These similar, historical formulations serve as benchmarks for the new product in the course of the testing programme.
Skin safety test results on the historical formulations, along with information on each formulation component, allow the toxicologist to develop an interim safety assessment so that careful testing can proceed with the help of volunteer panellists.
A large number of testing protocols have been developed specifically for laundry detergents. Some of them have been published by company scientists (check our publication database for further scientific material).
All of these tests rely on some exaggeration of concentration and/or duration of normal exposures, i.e., those exposures that a consumer might have during normal product use.
Initial tests are done under highly controlled conditions using small numbers of panellists. As our experience grows with the particular product formulation, the exposures approach more normal product use with larger numbers of panellists. In most of these tests, the new product is compared side-by-side with the benchmark formulation.