Friday, June 19, 2009

Science Friday: The Science Behind It

Today's science lesson is about something I learned long ago, not this week, so I hope that you'll pardon my stretching of my own guidelines for Science Friday. But, has come to my attention that members of the public, friends of mine even!, don't know about product testing of everyday items. I consider it my civic duty to share this information.

Have you ever considered how a company can make claims on certain products, such as, oh, say antiperspirant? How do they know that you will smell less if you use Brand A versus Brand B? Well, I had the opportunity to work for a certain company, Take-a-Gamble, many years ago in research. I'm sure everything is done differently now. Still, I'll not forget seeing a short woman on a ladder sniffing at the armpit of a tall man in a blinding white dress shirt. Yes, someone's job was sniffing armpits. Each day, each man was given a clean white shirt and was instructed to use the products given. She determined if the product was effective. The control group could use only soap, no deodorant.

Of course, her job could be worse. How do you think they test diapers? Well, yes, panelists needs to use them, stick them in the freezer and then at some point, the diapers are returned, weighed and well, inspected to make sure they work. Panelist get free diapers although I wonder how they explain the soiled diapers in their freezer to their friends (if they have any left, that is. I'm sure they don't stay for dinner).

From there, you can imagine other bathroom products that might be frozen and returned, but I'll leave you to your imagination. So, the next time you use a product, you might consider the science behind it, and the poor souls whose job it is to make sure you don't smell.


Cloudia said...

This post has the whiff of reasearch about it ;-)

David Cranmer said...

If you check this link:

it shows the cover to Odd Jobs: Portraits of Unusual Occupations and exactly what you're talking about.

Kristen Painter said...

I'm so glad my writing job doesn't include sniffing anything.

pita-woman said...

I'm totally at a loss... why would they freeze diapers???
I worked for that company as well back in the mid-80's. Small world!
I've still got my shares of stocks they gave me when they sold out.

Anonymous said...

You neglected to mention when you were a baby there was no such thing as pampers disposible diapers, at least we did not use them. We had the good old fashioned cloth ones that had to be emptied and not frozen, no diaper service either. Dad

Junosmom said...

Aloha, Cloudia. Glad I'm not doing the research.

I'll go look at that, David. Maybe I'll appreciate my busy-ness at home more.

Kristin - well, sometimes, I have a few sniffing jobs when the animals have uh, accidents. But, I'm not doing research on it.

PITA - what location? I was at the Winton Hill Research, but gone by '84. Just met another woman that was there, too, right after me in the same building! How weird. We never met then, but recently did through Wm's baseball team. They weigh the diapers to see how much volume they hold. They are frozen so that they don't decay/evaporate.

Dad, yes, you are right. But then, I used mostly cloth on my girls, too. But then, Wm - well, I got lazy and used disposables often. Those days are behind me now.

Matthias said...

haha, that's pretty interesting! Never really thought about how they tested those. Guess I just figured they would use animals or something? judging some of the nasty deodorants and scents on the market, now of day, someone should be losing their job ;)


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