So what’s the point of testing anyway?

We receive numerous requests to carry out analyses on multiple materials for multiple reasons, and sometimes it is easy to forget that our clients have very particular (though very varying) reasons for seeking our support.

For instance, recently we’ve seen a growing focus on Formaldehyde testing, and have developed and improved our methods for that work. But whilst doing that, whilst theoretically aware of the issues, I didn’t stop to think “why is this testing area increasing?”

Recently though the answer (or at least one of them) was brought into focus in an article I saw in The Guardian (http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/feb/19/chemicals-leaching-food-packaging-safety-bmj). This reported on concerns raised by a report in the British Medical Journal over the risk of Formaldehyde and other chemicals leaching from packaging into food.

The Guardian reports that the authors comment that “….potential cellular changes caused by food contact materials, and in particular, those with the capacity to disrupt hormones, are not even being considered in routine toxicology analysis”. They suggest this “casts serious doubts on the adequacy of chemical regulatory procedures”. I have no views on the veracity of these claims, but it is interesting that we are seeing companies involved in these types of packaging materials come to us to help them explore the risk levels – even without regulatory prompting.

With (literally) hundreds of clients, many with multiple projects with us, I expect there must also be hundreds of “back stories” behind each one. But the real answer to the question “what’s the point of testing” seems to be “so we can decide what to do next”!