Determine New Product Risk with a Hierarchy of Assessments
New products are the lifeblood of companies’ future success, says Dr. Randy Deskin, managing director of Deskin Associates. New products are subject to similar regulatory considerations as existing products, so it’s important that product stewardship efforts be integrated into product development early on. Otherwise, companies risk finding out too late that a product cannot be sold in a certain country or region.
It’s never too early to involve product stewards in product development. For instance, at the beginning of the development lifecycle, Deskin suggests modeling health and environmental impacts and conducting literature searches for data on the impacts of similar products. “So if the chemical of interest looks like a similar molecule, you can decide if read across and/or Structure Activity Relationship (SAR) can be used,” he says.
As the product moves through later stages of development, Deskin recommends asking a set of questions to identify acute toxic and environmental effects, such as is the chemical going to cause skin irritation or eye irritation? “Those are simple inexpensive tests that can give you a lot of information,” he says. “As you go through later stages of product development, you start to ask more complicated questions, like does the material cause developmental or reproductive effects, for example? It's sort of a hierarchy of testing as you go from the earlier phases to the later phases.”
Deskin will detail this hierarchy of assessments during Maximizing Effectiveness: Integrating Product Stewardship into New Product Development, a session at Stewardship 2016. One question that Deskin anticipates is how to convince business leaders that potentially costly testing and data collection is worthwhile as the development lifecycle proceeds. “The one question the business people always ask is why do I need to do this if it's not required by regulations,” he says. “This session will provide tools for how to sell these product stewardship concepts to their business leadership.”