English translation of Cantonese interview with Headline Daily.
The outbreak of the novel coronavirus serves as a catalyst for everyone to start paying more attention to their personal health. 1Source, a “locally born” ingredient analyzer platform was created to allow consumers to understand the chemical ingredients in various products and inform them of potential health risks. The platform harbours an impressive list of 150,000 product ingredients in both English and Chinese, two primary languages favored in Hong Kong.
Russell Yau discovered the need for an ingredient analyzer platform while working at Sunkids, a kindergarten his wife founded. Many of his students suffered from eczema. It was one fateful skincare lecture to the students’ parents that made Russell acknowledge the big gap in the market and inspired him to invest millions to establish a health information platform. In the early days of 1Source’s conception, his team spent a year simply collecting medical information and processing massive amounts of chemical data. He also partnered with various doctors, chemists, information technologists, and other professionals and finally launched a mobile app and website in 2018 and 2019, respectively.
1Source is both a website and a free mobile app. Users can analyze their products by scanning the barcode on the product packaging or photographing the ingredient label and uploading it on the platform to get a detailed analysis in real time. The platform evaluates the health impacts of each chemical compound in 4 major categories: inhalation, swallowing, skin exposure and environment. The associated Potential Risk IndexⓇ is being calculated with the relevant scientific and medical data and churns out a number from 1 to 10, the higher the score the more dangerous. Products and ingredients rated 4 or below are generally safe while ingredients in products rated 10 are banned by a government entity, or being classified as carcinogens by the WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer(IARC).
The application system also features personalized functions. When looking for products, users can use the product screening engine to filter products according to one’s personal health conditions. The user only needs to enter his personal health status in the “Settings” field, and when searching in the future, the system will remind the user which ingredients may not be suitable for them.
If users are unable to find the products they are looking for, users are invited to upload their products to the database. The founder hopes that more companies will use its product screening engine in the future so that consumers can be empowered to make smarter and more meaningful purchasing decisions.