Cleaning product manufacturers and suppliers have a lengthy history of carrying out and supporting research on the environmental fate and effects of cleaning product ingredients, according to an article by scientists at the American Cleaning Institute. Writing in SETAC Globe – a technical communication of the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry – ACI’s science team lays out highlights of the Institute’s research over much of its 90-year history, including examples of novel approaches applied to down-the-drain consumer chemicals.

Working with its member companies, ACI produced comprehensive critical reviews of human and environmental safety data of major surfactants over the past 35 years, and in the course of doing so generated data and assessed the safety of high-volume anionic and nonionic surfactants used in formulated products around the world. Recent among these initiatives are cleaning product-related chemical consortia dedicated to fulfilling reporting commitments under programs such as the global International Council of Chemical Associations and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency High Production Volume (HPV) Chemical Challenge.

ACI’s initiatives on surfactants and other ingredients have supported safety assessments utilizing structured approaches for assessing the safety of cleaning product chemicals, most recently compiled in the ACI publication Consumer Product Ingredient Safety: Exposure and Risk Screening Methods for Consumer Product Ingredients.

The compilation, generation and assessment of data has now led to an ACI database which aims to make complete human safety data publicly available for every chemical ingredient used in dish, surface and laundry products manufactured by ACI members.

The article also takes note of historical work done when ACI was known as The Soap and Detergent Association, including a series of technical papers in the 1960s on “synthetic detergents,” which were gaining popularity at the time.

Other scientific work done by the association detailed in the piece includes wastewater treatment research and modeling in municipal and on-site systems, exploring the human health aspects of cleaning products and their ingredients, and providing a science-based perspective on the benefits and risk of cleaning products in relation to asthma.

The SETAC Global article, which was authored by ACI scientists Kathleen Stanton, Paul DeLeo, Darci Ferrer, Francis Kruszewski and Richard Sedlak, is available online.

All human and environmental safety related research that ACI has supported over the past several decades can be accessed through a searchable database at the ACI Science website.