In October 2005, the EU Detergents Regulation (EC) No 648/2004 came into force in all EU countries. The changes introduced by the new regulation affected labelling and were intended to help consumers and users of detergent products make informed choices on selecting a product, using it safely and obtaining the best possible results.

Labels on detergent products include a list of ingredients – that has been a well-established practice for some time. However, under the Detergents Regulation the label must display greater detail on perfume ingredients. This is to help consumers who suffer from allergies obtain relevant information when selecting a product. Any preservative ingredients added to the product should also be indicated on the label. Both types of substances are listed with their International Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredients (INCI) name.

The following provisions on labelling shall apply to detergents sold to the general public and are listed on the product itself.

Weight percentage ranges:
— Less than 5%,
— 5% or over but less than 15%,
— 15% or over but less than 30%,
— 30% or more

The following ingredients shall be listed on each product, when used in concentrations above 0.2% by weight:
— Phosphates,
— Phosphonates,
— Anionic surfactants,
— Cationic surfactants,
— Amphoteric surfactants,
— Non-ionic surfactants,
— Oxygen-based bleaching agents,
— Chlorine-based bleaching agents,
— EDTA and salts thereof,
— NTA (nitrilotriacetic acid) and salts thereof,
— Phenols and halogenated phenols,
— Paradichlorobenzene,
— Aromatic hydrocarbons,
— Aliphatic hydrocarbons,
— Halogenated hydrocarbons,
— Soap,
— Zeolites,
— Polycarboxylates.

The following classes of ingredient, if added, shall be listed irrespective of their concentration:
— Enzymes,
— Disinfectants,
— Optical brighteners,
— Perfumes.

Lastly, in case there is anything you want to know about the ingredients of a product, labels also give a website address where you can go for even more detailed information.

For further details on the EU Detergent Regulation and what it means for you, please download the A.I.S.E. Detergents Regulation Leaflet.

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