1. Are enzymes used in detergent and maintenance products safe?

      Yes. 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.

    2. 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. For more information on preservatives click here . For more information on ingredients safety click here
    3. Does the daily use of cleaning sprays cause asthma?
      No. The overall scientific evidence does not support this idea. Full safety assessments are carried out before marketing any product. Manufacturers ensure that their products are safe for use through rigorous testing and by providing ‘easy-to-follow’ instructions. For more information about risk assessment click here.


    1. 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. For more information on surfactant biodegradability click here . For more information on surfactants click here

    2. 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.
    3. I suffer from various allergies. How do I know which products are suitable for me?
      If you suffer from various allergies you have to consult your doctor to identify which allergens or ingredients are responsible for your problem. To avoid an allergic reaction, choose products which do not contain this or these substance(s). It is a legal requirement that labels contain more information on ingredients and that the qualitative formulation of detergents is made available on a website. The website address can be found on the product’s label. You can also contact the company care line in the country you live in. A phone number and/or an e-mail address should be given on the product label. If in doubt, speak to your doctor who can ask the company for a medical datasheet.  For more information click here
    4. I would like to find out more about a specific product – what is the procedure?
      The most important piece of advice that detergents and maintenance product manufacturers can give you is also the simplest: “please always read the label before using a product”. Information about a product can also be obtained via the manufacturer’s customer care line or website. In line with the EU Detergents Regulation (EC) No 648/2004, manufacturers provide websites where more details on ingredients used in the detergents can be found. Click here to know where to find more information on a detergent or a maintenance product.
    5. What is the orange square with the black cross? Why do some products contain an irritant warning?
      Detergents and maintenance products must feature certain mandatory information if they are classified as “dangerous” under European legislation (Dangerous Preparations Directive 1999/45/EC). This symbol represents the lowest classification level for a classified product as defined by this European legislation. Products that are classified as irritant for the eyes or skin according to the legislation need to show this warning symbol on the product package. For more information on mandatory hazard symbols, click here
    6. Can I use one cleaning product in conjunction with other household cleaners?
      It is not recommended that you mix any detergents or maintenance products. All the important information on how to safely use detergents and maintenance products and how to obtain the best results can be found on the product label. By carefully reading and following the instructions provided, users can help protect themselves and the environment, while also getting optimal performance from the product. For more information, click here . See also the safe use symbols
    7. Do detergent and maintenance products use hazardous chemicals?
      Manufacturers only use ingredients that are essential to the function of a product, and do so only if the ingredients are considered “safe” when used according to the manufacturer’s instructions. The underlying question here is “how does the industry assess that an ingredient is safe?” This relates to the approaches on hazard and risk that are discussed in the section on Safety. Manufacturers take into account the conclusions of risk assessments on chemicals to determine and apply the relevant risk-management measures. Once it has been established that the use of an ingredient is safe under certain conditions, and that these conditions correspond to the correct, intended use of the product, then this ingredient is considered safe for use in the product. Manufacturers provide all relevant information and advice on the product label so that consumers are able to use these products safely and effectively.
    8. Does the detergent industry test any of its products on animals?
      We are committed to the elimination of animal testing. For over 20 years, it has been our policy to reduce, refine and replace animal testing by substituting alternative methods. The vast majority of detergent products has in the past reached the consumer without any testing of any material on animals and will continue to do so in the future. Animal testing is carried out only when there is no alternative approach. A.I.S.E. and Cefic are supporting partners of the joint initiative EPAA (European Partnership for Alternative Approaches to Animal Testing). The EPAA is an unprecedented collaboration between the European Commission services, major companies and trade associations from seven industry sectors. The partners are committed to pooling knowledge, research and resources in order to accelerate the development, validation and acceptance of alternative approaches to animal testing over an initial five-year period.
    9. What does the industry do to improve the quality of consumer information?
      The industry is committed to providing users with meaningful and relevant information on how to use products safely, effectively and sustainably. The best way to do this is with clear and easy-to-understand labelling that provides advice on proper use of the product. Other channels of communication include labels, websites and customer care lines. This joint industry website is itself an example of this approach.
    10. What measures have been taken by your industry in response to environmental issues?
      Our industry is fully committed to addressing environmental issues in the global context of sustainable development. Manufacturers are continually working to improve the efficiency and sustainability of their industrial and logistical activities, and to use ingredients that are more environmentally friendly. They also engage in numerous initiatives to inform consumers about how to use their products in a sustainable manner. To find out about the main initiatives that have been taken by industry, click here .
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