EkotoxInfo 03/2024

EkotoxInfo 03/2024

EkotoxInfo 03/2024


Detergents, as an everyday consumer and industrial product, have a significant impact on the environment through water pollution. Levels of phosphorus and nitrogen compounds lead to eutrophication of rivers, groundwater can be polluted if detergent ingredients are not fully biodegradable, and microplastics from packaging accumulate in these environments. In addition, detergents still contain substances that have an impact on human health. Many detergents on the market still contain hazardous substances that disrupt the endocrine system.


On 28 April 2023, the Commission published a proposal to revise the Detergents Regulation, which offers an important opportunity to improve the control of detergents on the European market and thereby minimise the impact on human health and the environment.


The draft Regulation is intended to implement the Zero Pollution Action Plan (ZPAP) and the Sustainable Chemicals Strategy (CSS).

  • Minimise the use of hazardous substances (CMRs, endocrine disruptors, toxic to a specific target organ in single or repeated exposure, respiratory sensitisers, PBTs, vPvBs, PMTs, vPvMs, hazardous to the aquatic environment, substances affecting the immune, neurological or respiratory system and substances with specific organ toxicity)
  • Reduce the use of phosphates and phosphorus compounds – setting limits in line with the EU Ecolabel
  • Prohibit the use of any plastic packaging for tablets or capsules for detergents
  • Extend biodegradability requirements to all detergents and surfactants


The purpose of the proposed regulation is
  • to simplify market rules
  1. Removes the obligation to provide a compositional data sheet for hazardous detergents
  2. Remove the mandatory intervention of the approved laboratories that have carried out tests under the Regulation

iii. The possibility to apply for an exemption for surfactants that do not meet the ultimate biodegradability criterion

  1. EU-based manufacturer of detergents and surfactants
  • to simplify and streamline labelling
  1. Introduce voluntary digital labelling, thereby reducing costs for industry and increasing the clarity of labelling for end-users
  2. Distinguish between packaged products and products sold in cartridge format and how to label them
  • to facilitate the sale of innovative safe products (e.g. micro-organism-based detergents)
  • introduce safety requirements for manufacturers of micro-organisms in detergents

vii.    Obligation for manufacturers to label the presence of micro-organisms in detergents to better inform consumers

  • increase sustainability and safety through clear rules for refilled detergents

viii. Consumers get the information they need when buying refill detergents


The vision of zero pollution by 2050 aims to reduce water pollution to a level that is no longer considered harmful to health and natural ecosystems


The draft Regulation is available at: https://www.europarl.europa.eu/RegData/docs_autres_institutions/commission_europeenne/com/2023/0217/COM_COM(2023)0217_EN.pdf


Ekotox website: https://ekotox.eu/detergents/

Ekotox webinars: https://ekotoxtraining.com/