SCIENTISTS AFFIRM SAFETY OF LAS: RESULTS OF DECADE OF RESEARCH TO BE UNVEILED AT SURFACTANTS CONFERENCE
CLER-ECOSOL exhibit will also be featured
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Scientists representing global producers of linear alkylbenzene (LAB) – the chemical precursor to the world’s leading surfactant, linear alkylbenzene sulfonate (LAS) – are nearing completion of a set of comprehensive international safety assessments that will comprise the entire LAB/LAS product chain, marking the first time the health and environmental safety of any surfactant has been so thoroughly assessed and reviewed, according to a platform presentation to be delivered at the 6th World Surfactants Congress (CESIO 2004). The conference will take place in Berlin, Germany on June 20-23.
Scientists with the Council for LAB/LAS Environmental Research (CLER), representing North and South American producers of LAB, and the European Council on Studies on LAB/LAS (ECOSOL), representing European producers of LAB, will also deliver a second presentation on anaerobic biodegradation and its irrelevance to regulations involving surfactants.
The first presentation, titled “International Safety Assessments of the LAS Product Chain,” highlights the fact that LAS is among the most extensively studied detergent ingredients in the world. It reports on industry’s activities within programs sponsored by the Organization for Economic Cooperation (the OECD SIDS program); the United States Environmental Protection Agency (the High Production Volume Chemical Challenge); and the Health and Environmental Risk Assessment (HERA) Project, sponsored by the European detergents industry and independently peer-reviewed.
It notes that the comprehensive assessments have been completed or are already in progress for LAS intermediates and co-products, as well as on LAB and LAS, and that all of the assessments have concluded or are expected to conclude that adequate data exists on these substances to designate them of low priority for further work and of low concern for human health and the environment.
“The assessments represent more than ten years of collaborative evaluation of the massive data set on the LAS product chain,” said CLER technical director John Heinze. “The results to date have been positive – they increasingly affirm that LAS is safe and environmentally sustainable from the beginning of the production chain to the end user.”
The second presentation, titled “The Lack of Relevance of Anaerobic Biodegradation,” will assert that anaerobic biodegradation is not a relevant factor for regulators to consider for surfactants that have already demonstrated ready biodegradation under aerobic conditions, which includes LAS and soap. It will note that this is the same conclusion reached by Germany’s Frauenhofer Institute in its study of anaerobic biodegradation commissioned by the European Union.
Copies of the presentations will be published in the conference proceedings.
CLER and ECOSOL will also host a joint exhibit during the CESIO conference, where attendees can meet company representatives and scientists, browse the CLER and ECOSOL web sites and pick up copies of the most recent issue of the technical journal The CLER Review, past issues of the Review on CD-ROM, copies of recent poster presentations and other documents highlighting recent industry activities.
CLER member companies include Huntsman Corporation, Petresa, Quimica Venoco, RepsolYPF and Sasol North America. ECOSOL member companies include Chemische Fabrik WIBARCO GmbH (BASF), Sasol Italy and Petresa. More information about the two organizations can be found at their web sites: www.cler.com and www.lasinfo.org.