Manufacturers seek guidance in properly managing the safety of enzyme-containing products used by consumers. "Risk Assessment Guidance for Enzyme-Containing Products" is available on the The Soap and Detergent Association (SDA) Web site.

Enzymes are naturally occurring proteins that "break down" certain materials into their basic components. For instance, in laundry detergent products, they help break down complex stains and soils, including protein-based stains (grass and blood) and starch-based stains common to many foods. Enzymes can also improve the appearance and feel of fabrics. They are also used in many automatic dishwasher detergents to dissolve food and soil residue into small particles, which are then washed away.

Enzymes have the potential to improve efficiencies and provide previously unavailable product benefits. In recent years, the use of enzyme technology in consumer products has increased significantly outside the cleaning products industry and the number of applications in which enzymes are being incorporated is continuing to expand. This new SDA publication provides the strategies and methods that have been used successfully by the industry to manage enzyme safety.

"The cleaning product industry’s recent experience shows how successful implementation of a product stewardship program, which includes appropriate risk assessment and risk management practices, helps to promote the continued safe use of enzymes," says Francis Kruszewski, Ph.D., SDA director of human health and safety.

A 1995 SDA publication, "Work Practices for Handling Enzymes in the Detergent Industry," outlined safe enzyme handling practices for the workplace.

"Our new publication describes how product manufacturers can develop comprehensive programs to assess and manage the risks of using enzymes in consumer products," added Kruszewski. "We outline strategies and methods that have been used successfully by the industry."