The American Industrial Skincare Goes ‘Green’

(3BL Media/Justmeans) – We’ve seen a rise in sustainable skin care companies, an idea that has largely been driven by consumer demand and awareness. These are skin-care companies that genuinely care about sustainability, and the effects that their produces have on the environment and people’s health. The most immediate changes have been to the actual product from recyclable and biodegradable packaging to non-virgin shipping materials, charitable donations and forestry stewardship programs. Yet while any step toward a safer, greener future is a positive one, the real change needs to happen in the bottle, especially with industrial skincare products.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labour Statistics, 10 to 15 percent of all occupational illness is caused by skin disease. Arduous working conditions can lead to skin problems ranging from chapped skin to occupational dermatitis. The U.S. Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report that occupational skin disorders are one of the most common types of occupational illness, with estimated annual costs exceeding $1 billion. The CDC also estimates that up to 40 percent of workers will suffer a skin issue at some point in their working life, and that more than half of working time lost through industrial diseases is due to dermatitis. 

In addition to pain, suffering and possible permanent damage, these employee skin issues result in lost productivity and increased absenteeism. With this in mind, it’s clear there is a need to look beyond protective gloves to address the care of hands themselves. Ironically, while the industrial workplace has gotten far less “dirty” over the past several decades, hand care products remain as harsh and abrasive as ever, and industrial hand cleaning products remain largely unchanged, exposing workers to much harsher ingredients and compounds than are necessary to get the job done. The result is a continuing cycle of hand irritation and skin disease that is both preventable and pointless.

One brand set to change things is Georgia-Pacific Professional, a leading provider of hygienic dispensing systems, towels, tissues, soaps, air fresheners, wipers, cups, cutlery and napkins. It now has a Green Seal™ certification for a selection of its skincare products. This is a sustainability certification that establishes environmental requirements for industrial heavy-duty hand cleaners and institutional hand cleaners. The standard does not include hand cleaners used in households, food preparation operations or medical facilities.

The Green Seal™ certification itself, highlights the brand’s long-term commitment to sustainability, stewardship and meeting the demands of the marketplace. The original ‘Green Seal of Approval’ was founded in 1989 to help safeguard the health of people and the planet. It identifies sustainable products and services, and provides public education for creating a more sustainable world. The industrial workplace has changed. Safety and facility professionals need to help lead the way in updating industrial skin care and hand protection to better suit current conditions. Any investment made in effective hand protection flows right back to the bottom line, many times over. 

Photo Credit: George-Pacific Professional on PR Newswires