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Comments  of  Dr  Michal  A.  Berry  Regarding  Recent  Criticism  of  the  CRI  
Seal  of  Approval  Program  

I  have  reviewed  the  white  paper  titled,  “Discussion  Regarding  a  Novel  Method:  The  Use  of  X-­‐Ray  
Fluorescence  for  Quantitative  Analysis  of  Elements  in  Carpet”,  authored  by  Debra  Lema,  Racine  
Industries.    I  find  that  the  paper  and  the  subsequent  public  comments  made  by  the  president  of  Racine  
Industries  to  represent  an  unimpressive  and  unpersuasive  marketing  attempt  disguised  as  “science”  to  
discredit  the  CRI  Seal  of  Approval  XRF  testing  program,  a  program  that  in  my  view  produces  significant  
environmental  health  benefits  to  consumers.  

The  reason  for  this  attack  on  the  Seal  of  Approval  program  is  blatantly  obvious.    The  Racine  Industries  
criticism  rests  in  the  fact  that  the  Racine  Industries  cleaning  product  HOST  fails  to  demonstrate  “cleaning  
effectiveness”  as  measured  and  required  by  the  CRI  Seal  of  Approval  test  method.  

XRF  is  an  analytical  method  that  detects  different  elements  by  ionizing  their  constituent  atoms  and  
recording  the  characteristic  energy  signatures  of  photons  given  off  by  the  elements  as  they  seek  to  
regain  stability.    The  XRF  test  method  used  in  the  Seal  of  Approval  program  is  designed  to  measure  the  
quantity  of  matter  removed  from  the  carpet  in  the  cleaning  process.    Previous  methods  used  to  evaluate  
the  carpet  cleaning  effectiveness  of  vacuum  cleaners,  extraction  equipment,  and  cleaning  chemicals  
relied  on  a  spectrophotometer  to  measure  the  amount  of  light  reflected  off  the  surface  of  the  carpet.    
The  spectrophotometer  test  method  provides  only  an  indication  of  how  the  carpet  surface  might  appear  
to  the  eye.    It  does  not  measure  the  fundamental  health  based  objective  of  cleaning  which  is  matter  
(soil)  removal  from  the  carpet  and  the  resulting  reduction  in  exposure  and  risks  to  those  substances.  

The  Seal  of  Approval  program  begins  with  a  definition  and  understanding  of  “clean”  and  “cleaning.”    
“Clean”  is  an  environmental  condition  free  of  unwanted  matter.    “Cleaning”  is  the  process  used  to  
achieve  the  clean  condition.    “Effective  cleaning”  is  the  removal  of  unwanted  matter  to  maximum  extent  
with  minimum  cleaning  residue.    The  Racine  product  is  incompatible  with  the  basic  concept  of  effective  
cleaning.    Among  other  environmentally  undesirable  attributes,  the  Racine  Industries  product  HOST  
leaves  behind  large  amounts  of  cellulous  particle  residue,  photosynthesis  derived  matter  that  becomes  
food  stock  for  a  variety  of  microorganisms.    In  addition,  the  residue  is  the  source  of  small  particles  that  
can  under  normal  environmental  conditions  and  activities  transfer  from  carpet  to  indoor  air,  thus  
creating  a,  an  undesirable  and  potentially  unhealthy  environmental  condition.      

For  a  major  part  of  the  past  decade,  the  CRI  program  has  been  publically  transparent  and  widely  
discussed.    The  Seal  of  Approval  program  and  test  method  has  been  published  and  presented  in  open  
forum.    The  XRF  test  method  and  program  has  been  examined  and  reviewed  time  and  again  by  qualified  
and  experienced  scientists  with  many  years  of  experience  with  product  and  environmental  testing  in  
academia,  industry,  and  government.      
It  is  my  research  experience  and  professional  judgment  that  the  CRI  Seal  of  Approval  program  has  made  
a  tremendous  improvement  in  the  effectiveness  of  cleaning  and  health  of  indoor  environments.    Most  
importantly  to  me  as  environmental  health  professional    and  scientist  is  the  fact  that  environmental  
quality  and  healthiness  of  environments  in  which  the  CRI  Seal  of  Approval  product  or  service  is  applied  is  
far  superior  to  that  over  environments  where  technologies  are  used  that  have  not  been  tested  or  
evaluated.    I  have  previously  presented  and  published  data  to  support  this  finding.  

The  Racine  Industries  white  paper,  press  releases,  and  media  presentation  are  without  any  meaningful  
technical  merit.  

1. The  author  of  the  paper  fails  to  indicate  her  technical  background,  experience  or  competence  
with  product  or  environmental  testing  and  most  specifically  with  actual  experience  related  XRF  
test  methods.    She  has  a  conflict  of  interest;  she  cannot  be  an  agent  of  Racine  Industries  and  at  
the  same  time  be  a  credible  science  writer  without  having  her  objectivity  called  into  question.  
2. The  “peer  reviewer”  and  his  or  her  technical  background,  professional  and  business  interests  
and  affiliations  are  not  disclosed.  
3. The  author  of  the  white  paper  has  in  several  places  misrepresented  the  XRF  test  method  and  
constantly  speculates  of  errors  in  the  method.    Neither  the  author  nor  “peer  reviewer”  present  
any  data  or  indication  of  experience  to  support  their  criticism  of  the  XRF  test  method.  
4. The  author  and  reviewer  offer  nothing  new  to  our  body  of  knowledge  related  to  XRF  science  or  
measurement.    It  is  well  known  fact  to  any  scientist  that  all  measurement  and  every  test  method  
have  random  variation  and  limitations.    Statistical  sample  size  and  republications  address  these  
limitations  and  biases.      These  were  well  understood,  addressed,  and  documented  at  the  time  
XRF  method  was  developed,  reviewed,  and  accepted  by  CRI  and  the  inherent  biases.  
5. The  author,  the  “reviewer,”  and  the  president  of  Racine  Industries  offer  no  alternative  method  
to  scientifically  or  consistently  measure  and  evaluate  the  effectiveness  of  a  cleaning  process  to  
remove  unwanted  matter  from  a  carpet  or  rug.    The  fact  remains  that  the  XRF  test  
measurement  provides  a  science  based,  cost  effective,  best  available  means  of  consistently  
measuring  the  efficiency  and  effectiveness  of  a  “cleaning  process”  to  remove  unwanted  matter  
from  a  carpet  especially  before  that  cleaning  process  is  applied  to  an  environment  that  affects  
health  of  its  occupants.      

Dr.  Michael  A.  Berry  is  a  retired  Research  Professor  from  the  University  of  North  Carolina  at  Chapel  Hill  where  for  over  twenty  years  he  tough  
environmental  science  and  business  and  environment  topics.    He  currently  serves  as  consultant  in  the  evaluation  of  environmental  quality  and  
environmental  management  strategies  and  policy.    Dr.  Berry  retired  from  the  US  Environmental  Protection  Agency  in  1998  where  as  a  senior  
manager  and  scientist  he  served  as  the  Deputy  Director  of  National  Center  for  Environmental  Assessment  at  Research  Triangle  Park,  NC.  During  
his  28  year  career  with  EPA,  he  had  extensive  interactions  with  private  industry,  trade  associations,  environmental  organizations,  governments,  
the  federal  courts,  US  Congress,  universities  world-­‐wide,  and  institutions  such  as  the  National  Academy  of  Sciences,  the  World  Health  
Organization,  and  the  North  Atlantic  Treaty  Organization.    Dr  Berry  is  recognized  internationally  as  an  expert  in  the  subject  of  indoor  
environmental  quality.  Between  1986  and  1991  he  organized  and  managed  EPA’s  indoor  air  research  program  

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