Due to fun marketing and a great name, Gorilla Glue is often on the top of peoples minds when it comes to adhesive needs. It was literally on top of one girls head when she tried to use it as hair gel recently, a huge PR boost for the company after she went viral. Personally I have always gone to Gorilla Glue simply because I liked monkeys as a child. Now I want to uncover the sustainability of the product in relation to the glue industry.
In terms of synthetic glues, the options available all have relatively the same production process. There is a lack of ‘eco-friendly’ glue available. So if a consumer has glue needs they should look to the other aspects of the producing company. Gorilla Glue supports use workers and business, and has shown promise with their sustainability initiatives, but overall leaves me with a feeling that they could be doing more with their resources to support their values.
Gorilla Glue is a polyeurethane glue with an active ingredient of diphenylmethane diisocyanate. Studies have shown that this ingredient can lead to the development of asthma for workers handling this chemical through inhalation of vapors, but it is proven to be safe on the consumers end. The ecological information section of the product safety data sheet warns, “Do not allow the product to escape into waters, wastewater or soil.” This seems like a huge red flag, as I would imagine the traces of the glue will be dumped and washed off in consumer use. I have to assume this means large quantities would be dangerous, especially as the safety sheet is meant for manufactures. The take home message is that synthetic glue production has the potential to be dangerous, but it is inherently part of the adhesive process, so the consumer doesn’t have much of a choice for this issue.
The glue does pose a danger for dogs: there have been cases of poor good boys and girls ingesting the glue, and having to have the mass surgically removed as it expands in the GI tract. This occurrence, is rare but still prevalent, one study looked at 22 cases from 2005-2019. It appears that Gorilla Glue is cited more than other glues with these incidents, but that could just be due to its high popularity and use.
Historically, a lot of glues were made from collagen derived from animals, but Gorilla Glue is vegan friendly. They have put out a confirming that there is no animal testing, or animal-derived ingredients in their product. They also go a step beyond that claiming that they believe in the inherent rights of animals, which is exceptional for this company, useful in changing the image of the glue industry. However, I can’t help but think about all of the dogs harmed by their product. If they truly believe in the inherent rights of animals, they could have, at the very least, made a statement for their support of the owners. And if they truly stand by their values they could have paid for the surgeries, or worked to tweak their formula to include some sort of dog repellent scent.
The product is ‘proudly made in the USA.’ The FTC asserts this means the products was last substantially transformed in the US. The exact sourcing is a mystery, but the synthetic glue was likely eventually sourced from fossil fuels. However, I will go over in the next section Gorilla Glues substantial dedication to US business.
Gorilla Glue headquarters are domestically made in Sharonville, Ohio, a suburb of Cincinnati. In 2015 this 1 million+ square foot headquarters were built, adding 110 new full time jobs, with a total of $11.5 million on payroll, a significant boost to the local economy. They could easily have outsource labor to a country where it would be cheaper, but they chose to stay in the US and support many American families.
In 2015 Gorilla Glue had a PR campaign with the Cincinnati Zoo that could be seen as sustainability initiative. The Go Bananas Challenge called attention to coltan mining, a necessary ore in cell phone production, disrupting gorilla habitats in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The competition is to collect cell phones for recycling, with cash prizes for those who got the most. I think this is a great initiative, following through with the companies namesake, and using their profits to promote an important issue. However I wish more was done, Gorilla Glue has shown significant growth since 2015, but has created no more initiatives like these. The values are there, the company just needs to show a better job following through.
diphenylmethane diisocyanate workers asthma <https://www.atsjournals.org/doi/abs/10.1164/arrd.19184.108.40.206>
Materials Safety Data Sheet <https://web.archive.org/web/20121012194306/http://www.gorillatough.com/uploads/MSDS/Glue/MSDS%20Gorilla%20Glue%20English%20June%202012.pdf>
Gorilla Glue Vegan <https://www.iamgoingvegan.com/vegan-glue/>
Dog Gorilla Glue Ingestion Vet Med Study <https://www.aaha.org/publications/newstat/articles/2021-03/gorilla-glue-ingestion-in-dogs-22-cases-20052019/>
New headquarters news <https://www.bizjournals.com/cincinnati/news/2015/03/10/exclusive-gorilla-glue-moving-its-headquarters.html>
Cincinnati Zoo Go Bananas Challenge <http://cincinnatizoo.org/news-releases/cincinnati-zoo-teams-up-with-the-gorilla-glue-company-for-go-bananas-challenge/>