Are there preservatives in detergents and maintenance products?
Yes. Preservatives are required in many detergents and maintenance products to prevent product damage caused by micro-organisms, and to protect the product from accidental contamination by the consumer during use.
Are enzymes used in detergent and maintenance products safeYes. The current use of enzymes in laundry and cleaning products represents no safety concerns for consumers. This is well-documented in published literature. Enzymes are non-toxic if ingested, they are readily and ultimately biodegradable and do not pose a risk for the environment. Many proteins can by repeated inhalation induce allergies. Pol¬len, house dust mite, animal dander, and baking flour are well-known inhalation allergens. As enzymes are proteins, they are also poten¬tial inhalation allergens. However, enzyme allergy is an occupational risk only for workers at plants handling large amounts of enzymes with the possibility of being repeatedly exposed to significant airborne concentrations. Many years of experience and numerous studies show that the enzymes used in detergents present no risk of causing allergies in consumers. There is no evidence that enzymes cause sensitisation of the skin (allergic contact dermatitis), a different form of allergy associated with low-molecular substances. The people that work in enzyme making facilities and in detergent production facilities use A.I.S.E. Guidelines to handle enzymes safely. For more information on these guidelines, please contact A.I.S.E. For more information about risk assessment click here.
Are detergents and maintenance products safe?
It is entirely in the interest of our industry to make sure that the products are safe to use. We obviously don’t want to harm our consumers. Besides complying with all legal requirements, we never launch a product unless we have reliable scientific data to support its safety, which is in line with the precautionary approach. We are committed to human and environmental safety, and regularly review our formulations in the light of new scientific data to maintain high levels of safety.
Are all surfactants used in detergents biodegradable?
Yes. All surfactants used in detergents must comply with current European legislation i.e. the Detergents Regulation (EC 648/2004). This Regulation imposes that all types of surfactants used in detergents and maintenance products (anionic, non-ionic, cationic and amphoteric surfactants) must be ultimately biodegradable. All of the detergents have to be assessed and the results well-documented for control by authorities.
What should I do if I have a reaction to an air care product?
If you find that your allergic reactions are increased when you have used an air care product, you should stop using the product and seek advice from your doctor. In accordance with A.I.S.E.'s initiative to ensure responsible manufacturing and communication about air care products, the labelling of air care products includes the instruction “people suffering from perfume sensitivity should be cautious when using this product”.
What does the industry do to ensure the safety of its air care products?
In 2007 A.I.S.E. led the development of a voluntary code of practice known as the industry “Air Freshener Product Stewardship Programme”. Companies who signed up to the programme committed to abide by a set of criteria which aim to promote best practices in the industry through responsible manufacturing and communication. It requires companies to routinely evaluate their products’ ingredients to reassure consumers that they are safe in use. It also requires companies to communicate specific ingredients’ information for each product on individual company websites in addition to clearer and more extensive labelling on packaging. The purpose of the 2007 programme is to enable consumers to make informed choices and use products safely.
A.I.S.E. updated the industry programme in 2016, including new commitments to consumers and authorities on the adequate control of the products on the market. The updated initiative increases the commitments both for the production of combustible air fresheners and for proper communication once products are ready to be marketed. Combustible air fresheners have to be tested before being placed on the market to ensure that emissions generated during use are below the exposure limit values defined by the WHO and, therefore, do not pose harm to human health. Industry is responsible to ensure that the consumer is protected also via proper communication on how to safely use the products. This is achieved via an adequate labelling of the product and by making additional information available on the product composition for those who might be interested via the company website.
What are volatile organic compounds? How can I know if detergents and maintenance products release them?
Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are organic chemical compounds that evaporate easily at room temperature. There are hundreds of VOCs all around us in our daily lives and there are both natural and man-made sources of VOCs. By definition, anything that has a smell has VOCs and they are released in large quantities by trees (especially pine varieties), fruits (especially citrus), and also through human respiration.
Ingredient information for each product is listed on individual company websites in addition to clear and more extensive labelling on the packaging, this applies to all detergent products as well as air care products applying the voluntary product stewardship programme from A.I.S.E..
Just like any other ingredient, VOCs undergo a rigorous safety assessment when used in any product.
Do detergents and maintenance products release harmful substances that I breathe in?
The safety of the people using detergents and maintenance products is of paramount importance to our industry, and manufacturers have a long history of working to ensure that our products can be used safely when the products are used as directed. Specifically, our products must comply with the extensive body of EU legislation such as the Detergents Regulation, the REACH Regulation, and the Classification, Labelling and Packaging of Substances and Mixtures Regulation (CLP) amongst others. A.I.S.E. member companies use exposure data (either from direct measurements of emissions or modelling) to guarantee to consumers that products can be safely used. These data form only part of a very thorough safety and regulatory assessment of products conducted by A.I.S.E. member companies prior to marketing. Companies also closely monitor and analyse the consumer experience with their products (’post-market surveillance’) and can thereby identify any unexpected issues encountered in use.
The overall process of the human health and environmental impact assessment includes:
● Hazard assessment and characterisation of raw materials
● Consumer exposure assessment
● Product and use specific risk assessment
● Post market surveillance to confirm the outcome of product safety review procedures.
Why have you decided to set the target to 20% for the uptake of recycled material?
The target is defined as a minimum objective and companies are encouraged to achieve higher ambitious targets. At the same time, the initiative is aimed at covering the European detergents and maintenance sector at large. The target has been set to be realistic and implementable by as many players on the market as possible. A.I.S.E. will monitor the trends over the years thanks to the annual data reporting in the context of the initiative and assess whether a reconsideration of this target would be necessary.
What is the industry doing to reduce the amount of plastics used for its products?
Packaging is key to avoid leakage of your product, to ensure safe use, to protect products during transport and to enable correct dosage. However, it is essential that packaging is correctly collected and disposed of to ensure it is properly recycled and potentially adverse environmental impacts are avoided.
In January 2019, A.I.S.E. opened a voluntary initiative on plastic packaging that is open to all manufacturers of detergents and maintenance products. This initiative aims to increase the uptake of recycled content in plastic packaging over the next few years. The participation in this industry initiative is open to all companies, whether or not they are members of A.I.S.E. and its national members.
The commitments are, by 2025:
● A minimum of 20% volume of recycled plastic material in the packaging of all household detergents and maintenance products in the A.I.S.E. portfolio;
● Ensuring that all plastic packaging for detergents and maintenance products can be recyclable, reusable or compostable.
A.I.S.E. will monitor progress over the years and will foster exchange of best practices, collaboration in the value chain as well as providing guidance to the industry at large.
In addition, consumers will continue to be encouraged to help by recycling packaging, using refills products according to their local collection schemes.
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Contact A.I.S.E. for more information about the topics covered in this website. Please be aware that we do not answers questions that are brand specific or of a commercial nature.