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History

  • 1988

    CLER Formed

    The Council for LAB/LAS Environmental Research (CLER) is formed to conduct research and disseminate information demonstrating the environmental safety of linear alkylbenzene (LAB) and linear alkylbenzene sulfonate (LAS), the world’s number one cleaning ingredient.

    Studies Presented at International Seminar in AAchen Germany Affirm Use of LAS

    A series of studies presented to German regulators confirm the environmental safety of linear akylbenzene sulfonate during the “International LAS Seminar, Alklylbenzene Sulfonates in the Environment.” The studies are published in Tenside Surfactants/Detergents, vol. 26, no. 1, 1989.

  • 1989

    Safety Assessment of LAS in Soil is Published

    The journal Chemosphere (vol. 21, Nos. 1-2) publishes a terrestrial safety assessment of LAS (Mieure, et al.), which concludes that levels of LAS in sewage sludge applied as fertilizer are well within the demonstrated margins of safety for terrestrial organisms.

  • 1991
    Study Shows lab not Acutely Toxic to Aquatic Species

    Results of a CLER member-sponsored study demonstrate that LAB does not accumulate to significant levels or undergo chemical or photochemical degradation in screening studies, and is not acutely toxic to a variety of aquatic species, other than Daphnia magna, within its water solubility range.

    Study Confirms Biodegradation of LAS in Sediment

    A CLER-sponsored study using LAS as a test substance to monitor CO2 production in river sediments confirms the biodegration of LAS in sediments. The study shows that laboratory methods typically used to measure a substance’s ability to biodegrade are not always reflective of what happens in nature.

  • 1992

    Research Presented at Major Surfactants Congress Shows LAS in Sewage Undergoes 99 Percent Biodegradation

    Results of a CLER-sponsored study confirm that during activated sludge treatment, 77 percent of LAS is biodegraded while 22 percent leaves with the sludge and is either biodegraded during aerobic digestion or disposed of via incineration, application to soil or addition to landfills. Since nearly all (98 percent) of the LAS in sludge applied to soil undergoes biodegradation, 99 percent of the LAS in sewage (77 percent plus 22 percent) is removed and undergoes biodegradation. The research is presented during the Third Annual CESIO International Surfactants Congress & Exhibition.

  • 1993

    LAS Safety Presented at Major Conference at Montreux

    A white paper demonstrating the safety of LAS in anaerobic sediments is presented at the World Conference on Detergents in Montreux, Switzerland.

  • 1995

    European Union Approves LAS

    The Regulatory Committee on Ecolabeling of the European Union completes its work on establishing ecolabel criteria for laundry detergents that affirm the environmental safety of LAS, thus ensuring that detergent products made with LAS will qualify for the EU ecolabel.

    UK Department Of Environment Approves LAS

    In its end-of-year report, Britain’s Department of the Environment states that LAS is “readily biodegradable” and its wide use in consumer products “poses no hazard to human health or the environment.”

    No Surfactant Found Superior to LAS: Life Cycle Study Finds Environmental Claims Made For Certain Surfactants Lack Scientific Basis

    The most comprehensive Life Cycle Inventory (LCI) study ever conducted on the six major surfactants used in laundry detergents, including LAS, is completed in Europe. The study found there is no scientific basis to conclude that any surfactant is environmentally superior: all consume natural resources and produce various wastes. It also provided a benchmark for surfactant producers to use on improving their manufacturing process.

    Dutch Government Says Low Environmental Risk of LAS and Other Laundry Components

    The Netherlands government concludes that there is no significant environmental risk from LAS or other large volume surfactants used in laundry detergents. A comprehensive risk assessment found that LAS, alcohol ethoxylates, alcohol ether sulfates and soap are all efficiently removed (over 99%) in sewage treatment systems.

    CLER Publishes First Technical Journal, The CLER Review

    CLER announces the publication of the first volume of its annual technical journal, The CLER Review, designed to bring together in a single journal the key scientific and public policy information on one of the most important and widely used chemicals in the modern world – LAS.

  • 1996

    OECD, EPA Assess Lab And Find Little Potential Risk

    A working group of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reach an agreement on a risk assessment for LAB, classifying it in Category 1 of the OECD/SIDS (screening information data set) risk assessment document. This means that LAB is considered of low potential risk and low priority for further assessment.

    Study Confirms Environmental Safety of LAS and DATS

    The results of a CLER-sponsored study reaffirm the results of a monitoring study at ten U.S. sewage treatment plants which confirmed the environmental safety of LAS and dialkyltetralin sulfonate (DATS), a co-product of LAS manufacturing. This is the first study to measure real world levels of DATS and DATS intermediates in these environments.

    U.S. Soap and Detergent Association Affirms Safety of LAS

    The U.S. Soap and Detergent Association (SDA) completes a thorough risk assessment monograph, “Linear Alkylbenzene Sulfonate Environmental Safety Summary,” which “substantiates the environmental acceptability of LAS use in detergents and household cleaning products.” According to SDA, “the comprehensiveness of the studies carried out on LAS provides documentation of the environmental safety of LAS that is rarely available for chemicals in commerce.”

    Extensive Studies of Rhine and Other Rivers in Germany Find Detergent Ingredients are Not a Problem

    The results of many years of systematic monitoring of the Rhine River demonstrate a dramatic decline of more than 90 percent in the volume and concentrations of LAS and almost all detergent-related substances, according to analyses by Germany’s Henkel KGaA. The Henkel reports concludes that “the concentrations of all surfactants in the aquatic environment are very low (<6 µg/l)…[and] are of no immediate concern.”

    USGS Study Reports LAS Biodegrades Rapidly In Mississippi River

    The latest study of the Mississippi River by the U.S. Geological Survey, published earlier this year, concludes that the rapid biodegradation of LAS has contributed significantly to improvement in the river’s water quality in recent years, despite a more than 30 percent increase in surfactant consumption.

  • 1997

    “Real World” Studies In Seven Countries Find LAS Biodegrades Rapidly in Rivers, Streams

    Five major studies of the environmental fate of LAS in rivers and streams in the United States, Japan and five European countries (Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain and the United Kingdom) find substantial “real world” evidence that LAS biodegrades rapidly and poses little or no threat to aquatic ecosystems.

    Environmental Safety of LAS in Sewage Sludge Affirmed At Denmark Conference

    The environmental safety of LAS in sewage sludge was affirmed in several papers presented at a conference held in Copenhagen, Denmark, to discuss the latest scientific findings on the “Management and Fate of Toxic Organics in Sludge Applied to Land.”

    CLER Introduces Comprehensive Website, www.cler.com

    CLER joins the information superhighway, offering the latest research and information regarding the environmental safety of LAB/LAS on its Internet site, www.cler.com. The site houses CLER’S latest technical bulletins, fact sheets, lifecycle and contact information for member companies.

  • 1998

    CLER and ECOSOL Unite At Montreux; Publish First Newsletter

    CLER and European sister organization ECOSOL (European Center of Studies on LAB/LAS) share a hugely successful joint exhibition booth at the World Conference on Detergents in Montreux, Switzerland. At Montreux, CLER presents an overview of the Danish regulations on sludge and the lack of a scientific basis for restrictions on LAS. CLER and ECOSOL also publish the first of their biannual joint newsletter, LAB/LAS Update for Executives.

  • 1999

    SIDS Dossier on LAS Submitted to EPA

    CLER initiates the LAS SIDS consortium at the request of the US EPA for volunteers to sponsor LAS in the international OECD assessment of high production volume (HPV) chemicals. The consortium consists of CLER members and major US detergents companies (Dial, Colgate, Procter & Gamble, Unilever and Stepan). The first step in the OECD process is to prepare a data set (dossier) of chemical, environmental and health related data. In June 1999, the consortium provides the LAS dossier to EPA.

    CLER Responds to HPV Challenge

    CLER volunteers to sponsor a group of eight alkylate bottoms in the US EPA’s new High Production Volume (HPV) Challenge Program, which encourages industry to provide comprehensive health and environmental safety data on substances produced or imported into the US in amounts of more than 1 million pounds per year. ECOSOL joins CLER in this activity and shift their work from the EPA program to the HPV program sponsored by the International Council of Chemical Associations (ICCA), which requires an even more comprehensive set of health and environmental safety data. CLER and ECOSOL’s HPV submission will eventually be used by regulatory authorities worldwide to determine the environmental safety of these LAB coproducts.

  • 2000

    Anaerobic Biodegradation Reported at Major Conference

    Research presented at the CESIO International Surfactants Congress & Exhibition reports that LAS biodegrades anaerobically. The research is published in vol. 6 of The CLER Review.

    Anaerobic Biodegradation Research Begins

    To further demonstrate the environmental safety of LAS, CLER begins sponsorship of several long-term studies to confirm that LAS biodegrades under anaerobic conditions.

  • 2001

    CLER Begins Revisions to SIDS Dossier on LAS

    In November 2001, the LAS consortium receives EPA comments on the LAS SIDS dossier submitted in June 1999. The consortium initiates activities to complete the SIDS assessment of LAS in 2000.

  • 2002

    CLER Review Studies Re-Affirm Safety of Las In Agriculture

    Volume 7 of The CLER Review is published. The issue compiles a series of five studies demonstrating the safety and continued biodegradation of residual levels of LAS in sewage sludge used as fertilizer, using a wide range of soil organisms not previously studied. The Review also includes research concluding that LAS levels in the marine environment pose low risk to aquatic organisms.

    LAS Studied Comprehensively Throughout Supply Chain

    An update on 10 years of collaborative research on the health and environmental safety of LAS is presented at the American Oil Chemists’ Society’s 5th World Conference on Detergents in Montreux, Switzerland in October. The poster presentation, sponsored jointly by CLER and ECOSOL, summarizes the progress in compiling comprehensive data assessments for the International Council of Chemical Associations (ICCA) and the Organization for Economic Development and Cooperation (OECD). In addition to LAB (for which in-depth assessments have been completed for OECD and the European Union), the poster reports that comprehensive assessments are in progress on LAS intermediates and co-products such as alkylate bottoms and sulfonic acids, as well as LAS.

  • 2003

    OECD Approves Human Health Safety Assessment Of LAS

    The OECD approved a major health assessment that concluded that LAS is a low priority for further work, indicating that it is of low concern for human health. The assessment was accepted by an expert committee of OECD, which has 30 members including the European Union, the United States, Canada, European countries, Korea and Japan. The assessment was prepared by a consortium of 16 detergent and supplier companies, led by CLER, with the US Environmental Protection Agency as the sponsor country for the assessment.

    Landmark Studies Published in The CLER Review

    Six breakthrough studies on the environmental safety of LAS is published in Volume 8 of The CLER Review, including a landmark, three-part study demonstrating the safety of LAS and other major surfactants for onsite wastewater treatment systems (including septic systems), which are used in over 25 million households in the US and millions more worldwide.

  • 2004

    Results of Decade Of Research Unveiled at Surfactants Conference

    Scientists with CLER and its European sister organization ECOSOL deliver two platform presentations at the World Surfactants Conference (CESIO 2004) in Berlin in June. In its first address to the CESIO conference, CLER and ECOSOL note that LAS is among the most extensively studied detergent ingredients in the world and report 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 independently peer-reviewed Health and Environmental Risk Assessment (HERA) Project, sponsored by the European detergents industry. CLER and ECOSOL’s second presentation asserts 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 notes that this is the same conclusion reached by Germany’s Frauenhofer Institute in its study of anaerobic biodegradation commissioned by the European Union.

    Comprehensive Assessment Published

    The most recent Health and Environmental Risk Assessment (HERA) of linear alkylbenzene sulfonate (LAS) is published in its entirety in the ninth volume of The CLER Review and on the HERA project web site (www.heraproject.com). The comprehensive HERA assessment concludes that LAS is “safe for man and the environment.” HERA was launched in 1999 as a partnership between the European makers of household cleaning products (AISE) and the chemical industry (Cefic) to carry out comprehensive human and environmental risk assessments on ingredients of household cleaning products and make them publicly available.

    The Health and Environmental Risk Assessment (HERA) of LAS

    The complete Health and Environmental Risk Assessment (HERA) of LAS was published in Vol. 9 of The CLER Review. This assessment has been updated based on newly available data and comments from the external advisory panel on the assessment. The revisions and updating strengthen the conclusion that LAS is safe for man and the environment.

  • 2005

    OECD Affirms Low Regulatory Concern on LAS

    The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) approved a major environmental assessment of linear alkylbenzene sulfonate, the world’s most widely used household detergent ingredient, at the OECD meeting held April 18-20 in Paris, France. An expert committee of the international body concluded that LAS is “low priority for further work,” and thus is of low regulatory concern. The most recent OECD decision on the environmental data on LAS marks the second and final piece of a comprehensive assessment of the surfactant. In November 2003, the OECD determined that LAS “is low priority for further work” for human health.

    The OECD Health and Environmental Assessment of LAS

    The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) approved the SIDS Initial Assessment Report (SIAR) for linear alkylbenzene sulfonate (LAS), concluding that LAS “is low priority for further work” and thus of low regulatory concern. The OECD acceptance of the LAS SIAR represents the culmination of nine years of collaborative efforts in researching, compiling and assessing the scientific information on the health and environmental properties of LAS. The completion of a favorable OECD SIDS assessment of LAS represents a significant milestone for CLER and the entire cleaning products industry.

  • 2007

    LAS Listed On Cleangredientstm Website

    After more than two years of development, U.S. EPA’s CleanGredientsTM database was finalized became live on the Internet. CLER took an active role in the public participation process to provide the most up-to-date information on LAS and ensure that the environmental properties of LAS and other widely used ingredients in cleaning products were categorized correctly. Based on EPA criteria used for this database, LAS meets the highest criteria for environmental acceptability for use in cleaning products.

  • 2013

    The CLER Review Marks 13th Issue

    CLER publishes the 13th issue of its technical journal, The CLER Review, and makes all back issues of the review available on a USB drive. CLER also participates with sister organization ECOSOL at the 9th CESIO World Surfactants Congress in Barcelona, Spain.

  • 2014

    CLER.com Relaunched

     CLER celebrates its 26th anniversary with the re-launch of www.cler.com.