December 2004


(Washington, DC) – The most recent Health and Environmental Risk Assessment (HERA) of linear alkylbenzene sulfonate (LAS), the most widely used household detergent ingredient in the world, is now available in full in the ninth volume of the CLER Review, the technical journal of the Council for LAB/LAS Environmental Research (CLER).

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)1 and the chemical industry (Cefic)2 to carry out comprehensive human and environmental risk assessments on ingredients of household cleaning products. The voluntary initiative aims to demonstrate, in an open and transparent way, that it is possible to effectively deliver risk assessments of chemicals used in household products using existing data and a common risk assessment framework.

“The HERA process is intended to support a risk-based approach to proposed legislation on chemicals in the European Union, but may also serve as a pilot for the application of the same process in other industries or geographical areas,” said Dr. John Heinze, CLER’s technical director and editor of the CLER Review.

The HERA approach is comprehensive because it provides a more in-depth assessment than either the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development high production volume chemical assessment program or the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency HPV Challenge Program, which primarily require hazard data. HERA requires both hazard data and human and environmental exposure assessments, since these are essential for risk assessments.

“Based on the rigorous assessment procedures used, the extensive array of expertise involved in producing the documents and the outside review process, the public can indeed have high confidence in the conclusions from this assessment,” Heinze noted.

1. Association Internationale de la Savonnerie, de la Détergence et des Produits d’Éntretien (International Association for Soaps, Detergents & Maintenance Products)
2. European Chemical Industry Council

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