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UMass Lowell Toxics Use Reduction Institute Helps Introduce Detergent Free Cleaning Technology

Lowell, Massachusetts, March 17, 2006 - The Toxics Use Reduction Institute (TURI) at the University of Massachusetts Lowell has once again helped a North American cleaning supply company commercialize a line of cleaning products, this time without detergents.

With the assistance of TURI's Laboratory, Cogent Environmental Solutions of Caledon, Ontario, Canada has developed revolutionary new cleaning formulations for everyday commercial and retail use that eliminate detergents - that is, synthetic soaps - altogether. A truly sustainable technology, Detergent Free Cleaning allows safe, efficient cleaning with food-grade ingredients and without volatile emissions.

TURI's Surface Solutions Laboratory, under the direction of Carole LeBlanc, provided the technical assessment necessary to validate the cleaning performance of these new Detergent Free Cleaning preparations. TURI has conducted numerous cleaning studies and provided valuable comparable data on cleaning preparation performance, which assisted in the final directions-for-use instructions. Data produced was also compared to published data on competitive cleaning preparations. This work was essential for confirming that the new Detergent Free Cleaning compounds could perform competitively with respect to cleaning efficiency and consumer cost.

TURI was also instrumental in preparing and submitting applications to the Canadian Environmental Choice and Green Seal environmental eco-labeling programs for certification and additional validation. Both labels are designed to encourage businesses to market products and services that are kinder to the environment and help consumers - both public and private purchasers - to easily identify them.

"I can say that without TURI's assistance, the concept of Food Based Cleaning or Detergent Free Cleaning would not have resulted in the commercialization of this complete line of safer products, including a calcium, lime and rust remover, a full set of bathroom cleaning products, formulations for carpet cleaning and heavy-duty general purpose cleaning preparations, says Michael Rochon, principal of Cogent Environmental Solutions. The products are all now available for both the home consumer and for professional use through Cogent's exclusive licensee (Chemspec of Baltimore, Maryland, USA, an RPM corporation company) under the brand Advanced Generation Cleaning Products.

For the Lab's part, it is satisfying to be involved in a process that rewards companies for doing the right thing. While no product designed for cleaning should ever be ingested, it is historically significant that these cleaners are food based and that they will be available to consumers, not just commercial end users, adds LeBlanc.

This latest development is consistent with a long history of TURI's technical involvement in developing sustainable cleaners and, in particular, in support of Cogent's pioneering work in the field. Dr. LeBlanc previously spearheaded an effort to include performance testing of Cogent's earlier generation of more traditional cleaning products for the Massachusetts Environmentally Preferable Products (EPP) Procurement Program. She also assessed the ingredients of the Ecogent General Purpose Cleaner, an ecologically friendlier cleaner developed by Cogent for compliance with the European Commission's 2001 published ecological criteria for all-purpose cleaners. The product was ultimately awarded the European Eco-label, giving official recognition to the cleaner for meeting a high level of biodegradability and minimal impact on aquatic life.

Part of TURI's mission is to test and find alternatives to toxic chemicals on behalf of Massachusetts companies. As do many University research laboratories, the Institute also provides fee-for-service technical assistance in helping companies like Cogent in efforts to access new markets for toxic-free products. The fees generated support the program.

For more information about UMass Lowell Toxics Use Reduction Institute's Surface Solutions Laboratory, visit: www.turi.org or call Carole LeBlanc at 978-934-3249.

For more information about Detergent Free Cleaning, contact Chemspec at 800-638-7370, Consumer sales and Distribution's Gary Polyoka at gpolyoka@chemspecworld.com or Commercial sales and Distribution's John Holibaugh at jholibaugh@chemspecworld.com.

For more information on research or environmental data, contact Michael Rochon at cogentenvironmentalsolutions@rogers.com 519-927-3793, or visit Cogent Environmental Solutions at www.ecogent.ca.

Detergent Free Cleaning Backgrounder

  A description of the benefits of detergent free cleaning and the role of the Toxics Use Reduction Institute in testing performance. Download file (21.50 kB)