Meet Paul Penders Company Safety Assessor, James Midgley. His specialty is toxicology and the possible toxic effects that can occur when substances are mixed together improperly. Educated at the University of Hull in the UK, his degree is in Organic Chemistry with an emphasis on ingestion, absorption and inhalation. He knows a lot about which blends of chemicals can have positive or negative effects on the human body.
What does a Safety Assessor do?
“I am an independent voice, paid to take an objective look at the product and assess its safety. I am paid by the company to be separate from the company — to provide that external view. It”s like an auditor position. Everybody wants to sell, sell, sell. But it”s my job to say “hang on a minute, this is what we need to look at.””
What does a Safety Assessor look for?
“There are three main things,” says James:
“One, a Raw Materials Check.”
“I look at the suppliers of the raw materials, check the inventory documents when a new batch is delivered, and match their certificates of conformity against the receipts to be sure they meet the criteria.
“Second, I am looking for possible chemical interactions in the matrix – functional groups of natural products.”
“At ambient temperatures, there”s no problem usually but some combinations can become toxic. So I check if at room temperature, substances in a product formula will form something else.”
“The third thing is the efficacy of the formulas.”
He explains that “efficacy” is a combination of the raw materials from suppliers plus the knowledge of interactions between substances. From that equation, you get evidence whether or not a product is safe for use in the global marketplace.
When the full Safety Assessment is completed, James will then issue a “Release Certificate” for that particular batch of Paul Penders products. He estimates it takes him about 4 hours to evaluate each batch of products before they are allowed to be shipped out.
You might think that a Safety Assessor would be a bit scary.
After all, this is the person who will determine if your manufacturing conditions are hygienic and your products are safe for human use. As it turns out, James Midgley is a warm, friendly and very funny man who just happens to have a vast knowledge of chemistry. He”s the kind of bloke that you might find yourself laughing with down in a caf” for coffee and a fascinating conversation.
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