October 9, 2006


Decades of study on surfactant will meet needs of REACH, paper shows

(WASHINGTON, DC) – The major surfactant LAS, and LAB, the material from which it is produced, should meet the data requirements of the European Union’s proposed REACH regulations, according to a technical poster presentation and accompanying paper submitted by a coalition of producers from the Americas and Europe at the AOCS World Conference on Detergents, held this week in Montreux, Switzerland (October 9-12).

The poster and paper are sponsored by the scientists and other technical specialists who comprise the Council for LAB and LAS Environmental Research, or CLER, and ECOSOL, a sector group of the European chemical industry council (CEFIC). Both CLER and ECOSOL represent manufacturers of LAB, the starting material for the internationally-preferred cleaning agent, LAS.

The poster to be presented at the Montreux conference explores how the extensive data compiled by CLER and ECOSOL for the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s SIDS program could be used to fulfill registration requirements under REACH.

“The industry, led by CLER and ECOSOL, has done a tremendous amount of work over the years to assess the safety of LAB and LAS,” said CLER chairman Tom Grumbles. “The materials will be well-positioned when REACH comes into force.”

Grumbles noted that in addition to the LAB and LAS safety assessments completed under the OECD-SIDS program, LAB has been assessed in the European Union’s risk assessment program, and LAS has been reviewed in HERA, the health and environmental risk assessment project sponsored by the European detergents industry.

“LAS is one of the most extensively studied chemicals in commerce, and the industry is continuing its work to assess the entire product chain,” said Jose Luis Berna, chairman of ECOSOL. He noted that assessments have been completed or are already in progress for LAS intermediates and co-products, including an ongoing SIDS assessment of alkylate bottoms.

Copies of the presentation will be published in the conference proceedings. Visitors to CLER and ECOSOL’s booth at the Montreux conference exhibition will also be able to pick up copies of the paper, as well as the technical journal The CLER Review in hard copy and CD, fact sheets from ECOSOL, and demonstrations of the CLER and ECOSOL web sites. CLER and ECOSOL representatives will also be available to greet visitors and answer questions.

CLER member companies include Huntsman, Petresa, Quimica Venoco, RepsolYPF and Sasol North America. ECOSOL member companies include Chemische Fabrik WIBARCO (BASF), Sasol Italy and Petresa. More information can be found at and


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