All I Want For Christmas: U-NI-FORM-I-TY

December 8, 2016 • Posted in Technical

Over the weekend, I took my kids to the shopping mall by my house – and for some reason, I got the wild idea to visit Santa Claus.

After the initial chuckling of the “elves” seeing a 40-something man in line to see the jolly old elf – my kids decided they wanted no piece of this – and my assurance that I wasn’t going to try and sit on Santa’s lap, I finally made it to the front of the line.

More weird looks, this time from the “big guy” himself – but, what the heck, I had patiently waited my turn. “And, uh, what would YOU like for Christmas?” he asked me.

Santa, all I want this holiday season is global uniformity of food contact legislations and regulations in the thermoplastic industry.

Santa started to chuckle… then broke into hysterical laughter. “You hittin’ the eggnog already, fella?” he asked me once he caught his breath. “Global food contact legislation… you have a better chance of me leaving a dozen Hatchimals under your tree!”

My cheeks now turning redder than Rudolph’s nose, I tried to present my case again. But Santa, I pleaded, getting all the countries of the world to unify their various legislations and rules regarding plastic products’ contact with food would make many people’s jobs – including my own – much easier.

Santa looked at me sternly. “C’mon, bud,” he said. “You’re a regulatory guru, right? Don’t you remember the Global Harmonized System?”

Why, yes, Santa, I do remember that! Sure, there were plenty of headaches that went along with adapting Material Safety Data Sheets into a 16-section, properly formatted Safety Data Sheet, with pictograms and labels provided when required. But it’s worked fairly well!

Santa started laughing again. This wasn’t going well. “Tell me, do you also believe in the Tooth Fairy and the Easter Bunny? Don’t you remember that almost every single country – the United States included – made their own adjustments to what information Safety Data Sheets would contain? How ‘global’ and ‘harmonized’ is that?

“And if you can’t get nations to truly standardize on such a simple document, then how can you expect dozens of different governments to agree on a single, simple way of declaring a plastic resin safe for food contact, without adding in their own unique concerns or ways of handling such decisions?”

I guess I must have looked like I just opened all my gifts on Christmas morning, only to discover the one thing I had really wanted was nowhere in sight. Santa put his hand on my arm and said, “Cheer up, kid. It’s a great idea, and it would really make documenting a plastic’s suitability for a food contact item much, much easier for people like yourself. But, right now, it’s just not feasible.”

And with that, he handed me a candy cane, and I was on my way.

On a more serious note: However you celebrate the holiday season, and whatever your personal belief system is, my hope is that the season brings you together with those you love, that you reach your destinations safely, and that your season be filled with nothing but happiness and peace.

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