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2010 EPA Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award

written by
Lyell Clarke

It began with a simple goal: create a green larvicide from the ground up.

In 2009, we introduced Natular™, the first public health larvicide to be reviewed under the U.S. EPA Reduced Risk program. One year later, we received the highest honor of our industry – the 2010 U.S. EPA Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award.


Press Release – June 2010

Clarke, a global environmental products and services company, is honored at the 2010 U.S. EPA Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Awards for their new Natular™ larvicide, which uses the active ingredient spinosad to control mosquito larvae in aquatic habitats. Clarke is recognized for developing novel, patent-pending plaster matrix that releases optimal levels of product during times when mosquitoes breed.

Clarke will receive the award at a ceremony in Washington, D.C. this evening. The award recognizes chemical technologies developed by leading researchers and industrial innovators who are making significant contributions to pollution prevention in the United States.

“This award is a wonderful recognition for the hard work of our research and development team, who were given the task of building a more sustainable larvicide from the ground up,” said J. Lyell Clarke, president and CEO of Clarke. “By bringing new chemistries like this to mosquito control, our industry can reduce the pesticide load and reduce toxicity.”

Natular is the first new chemical larvicide for public health in nearly three decades, and one that meets the highest standards for environmental stewardship. The active ingredient spinosad, discovered and produced by Dow AgroSciences, is in use in over 250 crops in more than 85 countries with additional uses in animal health and pet care. Natular was the first larvicide to be reviewed under the U.S. EPA Reduced Risk program. Four formulations have been listed in the OMRI Products List (Organic Materials Review Institute) and can be used in and around organic production.

“Natular is a next-generation larvicide that has strong potential to reduce the pesticide load in the environment.” said J. Lyell Clarke, President and CEO of Clarke. “It’s prescription larviciding, using the exact amounts of active ingredients needed to control mosquito larvae, at toxicity rates far below other products. We don’t have to sacrifice performance to be environmentally responsible – Natular delivers on both fronts.”

By creating several proprietary tablet formulations with a plaster matrix that insulates and then slowly releases the spinosad molecule, Clarke has made spinosad formulations which can provide control for up to 180 days. This matrix is wholly comprised of compounds approved for use by the USDA in production of certified organic products.

Natular is effective at use rates two to 10 times lower than traditional synthetic chemistries, is 15 times less toxic than the organophosphate alternative, is not persistent in the environment or toxic to wildlife, and eliminates the use of hazardous materials and processes in its manufacture.

Registered for use domestically and abroad, seven commercial formulations of Natular have been created for use in larval control in a range of mosquito-control environments, from catch basins to salt marshes.

“We anticipate a significant shift in the mosquito control industry with the introduction of this product,” said Clarke. “The real net benefit is reducing the overall synthetic load in the environment while contributing to the public health and quality of life in treated areas.”

Clarke is a global environmental products and services company. A family-owned business based in Roselle, Ill., our mission is to make communities more livable, safe and comfortable for families around the world. We do this by pioneering, developing and delivering environmentally responsible mosquito control and aquatic services to help prevent disease, control nuisances and create healthy waterways. For more information, visit www.clarke.com.

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Going Green: The Story of Natular

In 2002, Clarke set out on a journey to create a green larvicide from concept to market. We began by working with spinosad, a Dow AgroSciences (DAS) active ingredient that is a fermentation product of bacteria first discovered in an old rum distillery. It had all the characteristics we wanted for effective, sustainable larvicide. But at that point it had not been formulated to work in water.

Our team of chemists and formulation specialists needed to create formulations from the limited number of approved inerts – those that were OMRI-listed, NOP or EPA List 4 compounds.

The result was six distinct formulations, which were rigorously tested in the field by university researchers and customers who integrated Natular into their programs. These collaborations, our partners at DAS, and through the final proving grounds of salt marshes, catchbasins and aerial treatments, helped make Natular the product of the best thinking from across our entire industry.

In June 2010, Clarke earned the 2010 U.S. EPA Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award, which recognizes outstanding chemical technologies that incorporate the principles of green chemistry into chemical design, manufacture, and use, and that have been or can be utilized by industry in achieving their pollution prevention goals.

The original lofty goal in 2002 has inspired six formulations of Natular suitable for every larviciding habitat. And it continues our goal of demonstrating sustainability and stewardship, as Natular is 15 times less toxic than the organophosphate alternative and can be applied at use rates 2 to 10 times lower than traditional synthetic chemistries.

Fewer synthetics, less toxicity. That’s what green chemistry is all about. And at Clarke, we’re committed to innovations like Natular – a real-world example of how taking on what may seem to be an impossible challenge can lead to something better.