Have you ever stopped for a moment and pondered whether the food you are about to eat is poisonous? How about the packaging it came in? Do you give any thought to the potential toxicity of the medicine you take every morning or the medical device you rely on to stay alive?
Probably not. And that is because our Senior Toxicologist Craig Rowlands does it for you. He works with UL’s clients who manufacture and distribute food ingredients, drugs and medical devices, pesticides, biocides, performance materials and packaging to help make sure these end products are safe.
A man with a toxic past
Rowlands has a Ph.D. in molecular toxicology from Texas A&M University. After finishing his education, he worked for a global chemical manufacturer as a senior toxicologist and at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in a policy role.
“My experiences in both of those roles provided me with the practical skills to develop chemical products and identify issues affecting human health and environmental safety,” he said.
Rowland develops business solutions, standards and capabilities in chemical safety by helping UL divisions focus on the right research and development approaches to support existing and future clients.
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All of this begins by getting to know the client and identifying the right technical experts, as well as finding out in which regulatory environment the client exists, who their end users are and how a product will be used.
For example, with UL’s GoodGuide® consumer tool, Rowlands created a systematic science-based evaluation process to apply authoritative benchmarks for chemical safety to ingredients in formulated products and communicate them to consumers in a meaningful way.
He even helped create a new way to research chemicals by assisting in the development of UL’s Cheminformatics Suite, which uses computer modeling to predict chemical hazards with the accuracy of traditional animal testing.
“This has allowed me to understand the science of artificial intelligence and machine learning better as it is applied to chemical safety and public health,” he said. “This includes not only its strengths but also its limitations and development needs.”
By understanding the needs of the client and the chemicals in products, Rowlands helps deliver safety, security and sustainability to UL’s clients. So, the next time you take a bite of something delicious or swallow a life-saving drug, remember it’s Craig Rowlands and his team who work tirelessly to help keep toxins out of the supply chain, and out of you.