IEHA and UMass Lowell TURI "Weigh In" on Green Product Soil Removal
The University of Massachusetts Lowell (UMass Lowell) Toxics Use Reduction Institute''s (TURI) Laboratory is performing gravimetric analysis as part of the IEHA''s High Performance Cleaning Product (HPCP) testing program to verify the cleaning performance of environmentally preferable products, and equipment.
"The technology available for measuring comparative soil removal continues to advance, and we are pleased to incorporate these testing processes in our HPCP program," says Beth Risinger, CEO and Executive Director of IEHA.
Measurement is performed before and after cleaning using 2" x 4" rectangular test coupons or panels, flat sheets matched to a particular surface''s materials of construction, for example, stainless steel, ceramic or glass. Coupons are number-etched for identification. Coupon testing is performed in triplicate (minimally) to determine cleaning effectiveness. Testing consists of:
(1) Initial weighing of pre-cleaned coupons by means of an analytical balance (gram weight)
(2) Applying the appropriate contaminant (oil, grease, soil, etc.) to the surface of the coupons with a hand-held swab in a highly consistent manner
(3) Re-weighing the artificially-contaminated coupons under the same conditions as (1)
(4) Performing the actual cleaning trial (entails the primary elements of cleaning such as time, agitation, concentration and temperature, collectively known as TACT)
(5) Final and third weighing of cleaned coupons under the same conditions as (1)
"Gravimetric analysis using precisely calibrated analytical scales enables us to determine by weight the percentage of soil that was removed from surfaces, and eliminates human error and guesswork," says Jason Marshall, TURI Lab Director. "These devices allow us to determine soil removal with a high level of accuracy."
About the Program
IEHA''s High Performance Cleaning Product (HPCP) Program tests, verifies and helps promote hard surface cleaning products with green attributes to enable selection of those that effectively clean a range of building and environmental surfaces. While green certification programs (e.g., Green Seal, EcoLogo, DfE, etc.) do include basic product performance and efficacy criteria as part of an overall environmental review, these organizations, while laudable, emphasize multi-attribute eco-factors more than comprehensive cleaning criteria. To fill this gap, HPCP rigorously targets the cleaning performance of greener products, taking testing to a higher level through application of realistic soils on surface materials likely to be found in actual facilities (e.g., white boards, stainless steel, textured or composite countertops, etc.) This provides end-users with practical test data they can use to improve their specific cleaning situation, and suppliers with lab-based verification of product efficacy under specific, challenging and real-world circumstances. Tests can also be customized to focus on surfaces and soils most likely to be encountered in specific environments such as schools, gymnasiums, theatres, and more. The program is designed to answer the question: "It May Be Green, But Does it Clean?"