Discussion on Chemical Biodegradability and Persistence

Time & Location

Wednesday: 13.00 to 13.30, Stage 4

Session Host

NCEC/RicardoCaroline Raine, Technical Director – Regulatory, National Chemical Emergency Centre (NCEC)

About this Session

There is growing societal concern about persistent chemicals. These are substances that are slow to degrade in the environment, leading to greater exposure of people and organisms, and accumulation that may be difficult to reverse. This issue has been highlighted by flagship issues such as plastic pollution and contamination of drinking water by per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), and is translating into significant developments both in terms of policy and the market. But what does this issue mean for chemical businesses, what regulatory developments can be anticipated and how should these be responded to?

This session will provide a focused discussion on the topic of persistence. This will include the evolving policy landscape, market drivers, and practical implications of this issue for companies. ,We will pay particular focus to Europe, where the Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability is introducing major policy changes such as a restriction all non-essential uses of PFAS and the introduction of a new hazard class for persistent, mobile and toxic (PMT/vPvM) substances. We will also cover how companies are already responding to these growing concerns.

Finally, we will discuss what this all means for organisations placing products on the market, and how they can prepare.

Session Host: Caroline Raine, Technical Director – Regulatory, National Chemical Emergency Centre (NCEC)

Session panellists:

  • Chris Hughes – Ricardo, Head of Environmental Chemistry and Toxicology – National Chemical Emergency Centre (NCEC)
  • Chris Finnegan – Unilever
  • Nigel Crabtree – Biodegradation testing and Measurement Science Leader at Ashland UK

Session Host – Caroline Raine

Session Host – Caroline Raine

Technical Director – Regulatory, National Chemical Emergency Centre (NCEC)

Caroline is a chemical legislation expert, with experience of interpreting and implementing EU legislation relating to hazardous chemical substances. Her knowledge and expertise is wide ranging, covering both supply and transport legislation. This experience has been developed whilst working directly in the chemical industry and through consultancy projects. Caroline is a qualified Dangerous Goods Safety Advisor (DGSA) for the transport of hazardous goods by road and rail, and holds a post graduate certificate in REACH management. Her depth of expertise means Caroline is able to help clients understand and manage their regulatory obligations, providing bespoke advice and guidance on specific regulatory matters and how best to comply.

Chris Hughes

Chris Hughes

Ricardo, Head of Environmental Chemistry and Toxicology - National Chemical Emergency Centre (NCEC)

Chris is the Head of Environmental Chemistry and Toxicology – National Chemical Emergency Centre (NCEC). He has several years’ experience working for a major multinational chemical company on the implementation of REACH, as both a regulatory professional and as an environmental scientist. He has developed a detailed knowledge of the regulation, supporting a diverse range of chemicals and industry associations, and is experienced in engaging in regulatory evaluation discussions. He previously chaired and currently works as science advisor to the Ecology Group at Concawe, a technical expert group responsible for addressing environmental aspects of REACH for the European refining industry. He also participates in a number of scientific organisations and research projects, and is author of multiple peer-reviewed scientific publications. Chris’ other experience includes GHS and global product notification regulations. Chris has also recently created and launched the Persistence Assessment Tool (PAT), this is the world’s first software based, free-to-use tool developed by Ricardo. It has been developed to improve the assessment of chemical persistence in the environment. PAT provides a structured and clear methodology to assess persistence in line with global regulatory frameworks.

Chris Finnegan

Chris Finnegan

Safety and sustainability science leader - Unilever SEAC

I have spent my entire career working across various roles in Unilever, as a new starter in 1989 in the Port Sunlight R+D site as a researcher with the Home Care business, before moving to the Safety and Environmental Assurance Centre (SEAC) in 1995 where I trained as an Ecotoxicologist and Environmental risk assessor. In 2001, I moved to the Unilever Colworth R+D site with SEAC, completing my higher degree with Cranfield University focusing on understanding the fate and biodegradability of Unilever ingredients alongside working with external groups e.g CEFIC, ECETOC and AISE on related scientific challenges in these areas.

I am now a Safety and Sustainability leader in SEAC co-ordinating safety and sustainability support across all our business groups in Unilever. Working end to end across the organisation with our supply partners, Procurement, R+D, Regs, Legal, Marketing and Brand teams to support the ambitious transformational challenges on our people and planet commitments and ensuring scientific evidence is at the heart of the responsible decision making on the safety and sustainability of our products and processes.

Nigel Crabtree

Nigel Crabtree

Biodegradation Testing and Measurement Science Leader - Ashland UK

Nigel is the Biodegradation testing and Measurement Science Leader at Ashland and has over 25 years experience in the chemicals and ingredients sector and in the last 13 years at Ashland, expanding and developing extensive analytical characterisation and introducing biodegradation capability.

Nigel has a B.Sc in Chemistry and his main areas of expertise are in polymer characterisation, chromatography and biodegradability testing which he is now combining to providing additional information and help define structure relationships of complex materials.

He works closely with R&D, Product Safety and Commercial Teams and is committed to providing innovative sustainable solutions to customers and supporting new product development.

Environmental fate of ingredients is a consumer desire and environmental concern. Biodegradation testing is a principal technique for assessing degradation of polymers and materials at low concentration in accordance with OECD guidelines whilst addressing the limitations associated with historic methodology for polymers.