Conventional vs. Natural Preservatives

Green aspirations must be tempered with practical realities—an environmentally preferable product is not a success if the formulation falls apart or is overrun with potentially pathogenic microorganisms due to the lack of an effective preservative.

Beth Ann Browne – Dow Microbial Control
Phil Geis – AdvancedTesting Laboratories
Tony Rook – The Sherwin-Williams Company

• CSPA Preservative Defense Task Force

The microbiological quality of commercial products is among the most important elements of product quality. Nevertheless, it is an element that has not demanded a hyper-vigilant focus due to the compositions of consumer and industrial products that have prevailed during the past several decades. The use of a conventional chemical preservative along with some innate capacity of the formulation to resist spoilage (due to the high level of solvents and low water content), was previously sufficient to protect the product during manufacturing and throughout its lifetime of use by the consumer. However, modern product formulations with eco-compliant ingredients are under increased pressure by ecolabeling organizations1,2 to abandon the use of conventional preservatives in favor of alternative substances that are seen by various groups to be more “natural.”

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