- What are trace materials?
- What are trace constituents
- What are incidental ingredients
- What are we doing to find out as much as possible about trace materials in our raw materials?
- Why do we list linalool and d-limonene on some of our labels?
- At what concentration are they present in our products?
What are trace materials?
In addition to the ingredients that we add intentionally to our products so they will perform effectively, there are often other substances present in small quantities in the final formulation that are not intentionally added. These substances are sometimes present as impurities in our raw materials and are referred to as trace materials.
Trace materials may be present in our products at percent levels, at parts per million (ppm) levels, or even at parts per billion (ppb) levels.
Trace materials can be byproducts of chemical reactions that occur during the manufacturing of ingredients in our products, or can be naturally occurring impurities in the raw materials we source. For example, in the past, we have identified trace amounts of phthalates in an essential oil fragrance blend. It is believed that this was introduced during the processing of the oil. Also, we identified trace amounts of BPA in our paper products, which was introduced as a contaminant in the paper recycling stream due to the use of BPA in thermal paper (e.g. cash register receipts).
What are trace constituents?
Trace constituents can sometimes be byproducts of chemical reactions that occur during the manufacturing of ingredients of our products. One example of this is 1,4-dioxane. Seventh Generation sets strict limits on the concentration of this byproduct in order to prevent human health or environmental hazards.
Trace constituents can also be naturally occurring impurities in the raw materials we source. This can happen because we use plant and mineral-derived raw materials. An example of this is trace constituents found in sodium chloride, or common table salt. The salt used in our products is obtained from natural sources; however, even after purification, magnesium chloride and calcium chloride can be present as trace constituents at extremely low concentrations in our final product. These trace constituents do not pose any human health or environmental hazard.
What are incidental ingredients?
The second category of trace materials are incidental ingredients. Although manufacturers of cleaning products are not required to list their ingredients, Seventh Generation has chosen to disclose all of our cleaning product ingredients according to the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act (FDCA).
The FDCA requires the label on each package of a product to declare the name of every ingredient greater than 1% in the final formulation in descending order of predominance, except fragrances and flavors which may be listed as fragrance or flavor. Ingredients present below 1% can be listed in any order desired by the manufacturer. To make it easier for our consumers to understand, Seventh Generation groups ingredients by function and lists the functions in order of predominance.
However, the FDCA allows exceptions for what are called incidental ingredients. Incidental ingredients as defined by the FDCA are:
- Substances that have no technical or functional effect in the [product] but are present by reason of having been incorporated into the [product] as an ingredient of another [product] ingredient.
Processing aids, which are as follows:
- Substances that are added to a [product] during the processing of such [product] but are removed from the [product] in accordance with good manufacturing practices before it is packaged in its finished form.
- Substances that are added to a [product] during processing for their technical or functional effect in the processing, are converted to substances the same as constituents of declared ingredients, and do not significantly increase the concentration of those constituents.
- Substances that are added to a [product] during the processing of such [product] for their technical and functional effect in the processing but are present in the finished [product] at insignificant levels and do not have any technical or functional effect in that [product]. 21 CFR §701.3(l).
A great website to visit for a quick and easy overview of the Cosmetic Labeling Guide is http://www.fda.gov/Cosmetics/CosmeticLabelingLabelClaims/CosmeticLabelingManual/ucm126444.htm
Preservatives of raw materials are one example of an incidental ingredient in our products. Preservatives are often added to raw materials to prevent contamination and spoilage. When preserved ingredients are used to make products the level of ingredient preservative present in the finished product is too small to be effective. Therefore such preservatives are incidental ingredients.
What are we doing to find out as much as possible about trace materials in our raw materials?
We work continuously to maintain the authenticity of our products. We work with all of our suppliers to identify as many trace materials as possible in the ingredients they supply us. Most important, we test our raw materials annually for the presence of trace materials and take corrective action if necessary.
Fragrance formulas are often protected as trade secrets. That means you’ll almost always see the generic term "fragrance" or "perfume" on a label without information about the actual chemicals. At Seventh Generation we believe consumers have a Right to Know what is in the products they purchase. That is why we list all essential oils and botanical extracts we use in our products right on the label.
The European Union (EU) designated 26 fragrance allergens (16 occurring in natural complex substances such as essential oils) as requiring labeling on cosmetic and detergent products. This labeling must occur if the concentration of the designated ingredient exceeds 100 parts per million (ppm), or 0.01% for a rinse-off product, and 10 ppm, or 0.001% for a leave-on product. To help our consumers with sensitive skin and allergies, we have decided to voluntarily list any of the 16 fragrance allergens found in our fragrance blends. When a fragrance allergen is present in a Seventh Generation cleaner it is because that allergen naturally occurs as a component of the essential oils used to fragrance our cleaners.
To learn more about the 26 fragrance allergens designated by the EU, see http://ec.europa.eu/enterprise/sectors/chemicals/files/legislation/allergenic_subst_en.pdf.
Table 1 lists all the 26 allergens designated by the EU.
Table 1: List of 26 fragrance allergens designated by the EU
|Amyl cinnamal CAS 122-40-7)||Anisyl alcohol (CAS No 105-13-5)|
|Benzyl alcohol (CAS No 100-51-6)||Benzyl cinnamate (CAS No 103-41-3)|
|Cinnamyl alcohol (CAS No 104-54-1)||Farnesol (CAS No 4602-84-0)|
|Citral (CAS No 5392-40-5)||2-(4-tert-Butylbenzyl) propionald-hyd (CAS No 80-54-6)|
|Eugenol (CAS No 97-53-0)||Linalool (CAS No 78-70-6)|
|Hydroxy-citronellal (CAS No 107-75-5)||Benzyl benzoate (CAS No 120-51-4)|
|Isoeugenol (CAS No 97-54-1)||Citronellol (CAS No 106-22-9)|
|Amylcin-namyl alcohol (CAS No 101-85-9)||Hexyl cinnam-aldehyd (CAS No 101-86-0)|
|Benzyl salicylate (CAS No 118-58-1)||d-Limonene (CAS No 5989-27-5)|
|Cinnamal (CAS No 104-55-2)||Methyl heptin carbonate (CAS No 111-12-6)|
|Coumarin (CAS No 91-64-5)||3-Methyl-4-(2,6,6-tri-methyl-2-cyclohexen-1-yl)-3-buten-2-one (CAS No 127-51-5)|
|Geraniol (CAS No 106-24-1)||Oak moss and treemoss extract (CAS No 90028-68-55)|
|Hydroxy-methylpentylcyclohexenecarboxaldehyd (CAS No 31906-04-4)||Treemoss extract (CAS No 90028-67-4)|
At what concentration are they present in our products?
Each of our scented cleaners contains a different level of essential oils and botanical extracts. We only list fragrance allergens designated by the European Union why? on the product packaging if the concentration of these components in the final formulation is equal to or greater than 0.01% (100 ppm). This is the level at which the European Union requires cosmetic and detergent manufacturers to list fragrance allergens in rinse-off cosmetics such as shampoos or detergents.
(1)European Union cosmetics directive 76/768/EEC-7th amendment (Council Directive 2003/15/EC). Official Journal of the European Union. Brussels, Belgium. 2003.