MoDRN day 5--research platform presentations

Our group discovered just what we expected.  Many companies market their products as green with labeling etc without actually having been held to any green standards.  The only products that have been tested to meet green chemistry standards are those with the EPA safer choice label.

So this last day of MoDRN at Baylor University was great.  All the groups worked on their platform presentations that morning and presented after lunch.  As far as the findings go, they were very interesting and unpredictable between product groups.  We found that the insect repellent marketed as green was indeed less toxic,  however, in the case of body wash green marketing did not exactly mean less toxic (to D.magna)
For example, we showed these two examples of product marketing and asked the audience to pick which one they would buy if they were looking for a green product.  Everyone chose Simple Green, however, Odoban actually has the EPA safer choice logo meaning that it has been tested and help to the EPA standards that the Simple Green may or may not meet.
So consumers beware.  The people who market items are sneaky smart and sometimes although they use naturally derived chemicals, those chemicals may be more toxic than their synthetic counterparts.
So how do we make informed safer choices?
  • Look for the safer choice label
  • Research the active/top 5 ingredients listed in the products you are thinking of buying and see what the MSDS or SDS sheets (available online) say about them
  • Don't fall for packaging or claims of 'natural' if there is no science to back it up
Next week we will be moving to the Baylor Research Innovation and collaboration center (BRIC), as well as the Waco Wetlands, and turning what we did in week 1 into useable lessons to take back into high schools.  Ill keep you posted!
Shout to to one of my students La Vega Early College High School students who took the extra credit opportunity and came to sit through all of the platform presentations.  He and his mom left far more enlightened about their household chemical purchases.
One really neat unexpected thing that has come of the platform presentations is my 9 year old daughter's new-found interest in green chemistry.  After sitting through 4 platform presentations she has approached me several times this weekend with products her fathers bought while grocery shopping and talked through her own hypotheses and experimental design. One in particular was a  I tank toilet bowl cleaner that claims to kill 98% of bacteria. She said, " Hey mom, look at this. It says it kills bacteria, I bet it would be toxic to Daphnia too!". How cool is that?!?!

I would have added photos but Blogger isn't cooperating tonight so I will try again later!


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