Our Approach to Product Safety
Our Safety Heritage
Household consumer products provide a variety of benefits to society, such as cleaner homes and improved health and personal hygiene, thus enabling an overall better quality of life. One additional expectation of all consumer products is that they will be safe, that is, that their use will not adversely affect human health or the environment.
Throughout our history, P&G has believed that the safety of our products is a prerequisite for responsible business. Our co-founder, James Gamble, stated in the mid-1800s that “if you cannot make pure goods and full weight, go to something else that is honest, even if it is breaking stone.” Today, this philosophy is reflected in our Statement of Purpose: “We will provide branded products and services of superior quality and value that improve the lives of the world’s consumers, now and for generations to come.” Safety is an intrinsic part of our products’ quality and value.
Fulfilling our Commitments
Our commitment to safety is reflected in the more than 700 in-house experts devoted globally to ensuring the environmental and human safety of all our ingredients and products before they go to market, as well as ensuring that they comply with laws and regulations in each of the markets where they are sold. P&G also consistently promotes research that enhances understanding of product safety. Our scientists have helped to develop numerous new methods and approaches to advance the science necessary to evaluate safety. This is an ongoing process that requires us to stay on the leading edge of new scientific knowledge in such diverse areas as analytical chemistry, biostatistics, computer science and modeling, environmental science and engineering, genomics, molecular biology, systems biology, and toxicology.
We use a Science-based Approach to Evaluate Safety
The reputation of every P&G product depends upon the trust of consumers that they are safe. Our approach is based on broadly accepted practices for the scientific assessment of safety. We first evaluate the potential for an ingredient to cause adverse effects using published and accepted scientific methods. We also consider susceptible populations such as children. These data are used to determine what levels of an ingredient are safe for humans and the environment, using conservative assumptions that are recommended by regulatory agencies and scientists around the world. We then evaluate potential exposures for people and the environment, considering worst-case product use scenarios based on our understanding of how our products are actually used, as well as how they may reach the environment. Only products that are well within safe levels make it through our evaluation process. Finally, we also build into our assessments an understanding of the environmental aspects of the product’s life cycle, from manufacturing through their use and disposal.