Quality and Innovation
ASTM standards form basis of adjuvant certification program
Sometimes chemicals are like people. They need a little extra assistance to get their jobs done better. Adjuvants can help.
Tank mix adjuvants are materials added to chemical mixes (such as pesticides) to aid or modify the action of the chemicals. In doing this, adjuvants can improve chemical performance through better spreading, wetting, penetrating and adhesion. Now, the National Voluntary Certification Program of the Chemical Producers and Distributors Association is allowing the adjuvant industry to take ownership of quality assurance and is providing the means for further innovation and growth. The certification program was inspired by, and is based on, ASTM International standards.
Susan Ferenc, president, CPDA, and an ASTM International member, notes that adjuvants did not have the best reputation prior to the development of ASTM standards. The 1993 approval of ASTM E 1519, Terminology Relating to Agricultural Tank Mix Adjuvants, was an early milestone in the process of improving adjuvants.
Ferenc says it was only natural for the organization to look to ASTM standards when starting the certification program, because many CPDA members were also involved in the development of ASTM’s adjuvant standards. “CPDA looked to ASTM when starting the certification program because ASTM standards are based on consensus opinion and predicated on technology and science,” says Ferenc. “Therefore we felt that gave a very solid footing to the standards that would be incorporated as the main part of our program.”
According to Diane Schute, director, communications and programs, CPDA, the certification program “brings a level of consistency so that users who buy a product that makes a functionality claim in terms of application will have some assurance that the product will indeed do what it is purported to do.”
The primary ASTM standards referenced within the certification program are E 1519, Terminology Relating to Agricultural Tank Mix Adjuvants, and E 609, Terminology Relating to Pesticides, both under the jurisdiction of Subcommittee E35.22 on Pesticide Formulations and Delivery Systems. In addition, several other ASTM standards are referenced throughout the certification program.
While product quality control and self-stewardship are the primary goals of the CPDA certification program, Ferenc and Schute are hopeful that it will also provide a means for innovation within the industry. Ferenc says that drift of sprayed chemicals to non-target areas (for example, schools or water supplies) is an area in which adjuvants could provide solutions. “The certification program could lead to ways that adjuvants could contribute to drift reduction technology and bring about more environmental stewardship in other areas as well,” says Schute.
“We think that, in addition to promoting quality, the CPDA certification program has the ability to expand as different needs come up within the adjuvant industry,” says Ferenc.