Intertek offers compliance solutions for the European Union's (EU) Detergent Regulation

The EU detergents legislations evolved from widespread water pollution in Western Europe in the 1960s which was caused by poorly biodegradable detergents resulting in the formation of large quantities of foams in rivers and adversely impacting the environment. In response to the damaging effects from “foaming rivers” caused by the accumulation of surfactants, a seminal movement introduced Directive 1973/404/EEC.

The current detergents legislation, regulation (EC) No 648/2004 has been in force since 08 October 2005, when it replaced the earlier legislative measures. It was designed to achieve the free movement of detergents and surfactants used for detergents on the EU internal markets whilst ensuring a high degree of protection of the environment and public health. Regulation 648/2004 imposes a two-tier testing regime on the biodegradability of the active ingredients of detergents (known as surfactants). The scope is wide, covering all surfactants including anionics, non-ionics, cationics, and amphoterics. It is applicable to the manufacturing, sale, and use of detergents; as such, any natural or legal person responsible for placing a detergent or a surfactant for a detergent on the EU market must comply with this regulation.

These include:

  •  Manufacturers/producers of detergents;
  •  Importers of detergents;
  •  Any person changing the characteristics of a detergent;
  •  Any person changing the labelling or packaging of a detergent;
  •  Packager i.e. a person working on its own account; for example Company A purchases a detergent in bulk form from Company B and then repackages the detergent with its “own” name on the box.

How can Intertek help?
Intertek can support you to bring your product to the marketplace with the confidence that you have met all regulatory requirements of a complex but important regulation. Our experts can provide advice on EU Eco-labelling, a voluntary scheme that shows commitment to environmental sustainability. In addition, our detergent and household product experts can provide regulatory services on any of the following category of products: 

  •  Bleaching products
  •  Dishwashing products
  •  Laundry care products
  •  General surface cleaners (e.g. wipe, multipurpose cleaners, household disinfectants etc.)
  •  Toilet care products (e.g. tablets, rim blocks etc.)

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