New chemistry test from TÆNK reveals unwanted chemistry in many detergents and cleaning products

Posted by Rikke Macijowski Nielsen on

A new study from the Consumer Council Tænk Kemi shows that many detergents contain chemicals that can be problematic for health and the environment.

We have a clear position on that.

See the important results of the test here and read what you, among other things, can do to avoid harmful chemistry in your everyday products.

The chemistry test reveals

The new study from Tænk Kemi shows that many detergents contain unwanted chemicals. The study, which included 196 different products for use in cleaning and laundry, found, among other things, that more than half of the products contained perfume, 55% contained allergenic substances and one in four detergents contained problematic chemistry for people or the environment ( SOURCE: Think Chemistry ).

Several of the tested cleaning agents also contained substances that are suspected of being hormone-disrupting or carcinogenic ( SOURCE: Tænk Kemi ). This is worrying as many of these substances can continue to emit chemicals into the air or onto surfaces in the home as well as into our clothing fibers - even after the cleaning and laundry is finished.

Several cleaning agents, especially detergents, also contain LAS substances (Linear Alkylbenzenesulfonates). LAS substances are substances used as a foaming agent in many detergents and cleaning agents. They are suspected of being endocrine disruptors and can also have negative effects on the environment, as they can break down into components that are harmful to aquatic organisms. In the study, 10 out of 50 tested detergents were found to contain LAS substances ( SOURCE: Tænk Kemi ).

What are the recommendations from the study?

  1. Choose products with the Swan label or the blue wreath , as these are signs that the product is environmentally friendly and does not contain harmful substances.

  2. Avoid cleaning products with perfumes, allergenic substances and substances that can harm reproduction.

  3. Read the ingredient list and avoid products with harmful substances such as parabens, phthalates, alkylphenols and formaldehyde.

  4. Pay particular attention to LAS substances in detergents, as they are suspected of being hormone disruptors and harmful to the environment.

  5. Ensure good ventilation when using cleaning agents and avoid using too much of the product.

  6. Consider alternative cleaning methods, such as use of natural ingredients such as vinegar.

  7. Avoid buying cleaning products in plastic bottles, as this can be harmful to the environment.

Our take on the results

We are not surprised by the results. But we are sick and tired of history repeating itself. And problematic substances creep into products time and time again. The chemicals that are now being classified as undesirable have previously been on the "approved" list. And then we got wiser.

Is it a matter of time before we learn that the chemicals that are on the "approved" list now also prove problematic? Who will be the test generation? Why do we allow gambling with the environment and human health? Who really wins with this approach?

Many detergent manufacturers lean on "what can we get away with" rather than a no-compromise approach.

These test results give reason to reconsider the test criteria behind Tænk's tests of the effectiveness of cleaning and washing agents.

Tænk regularly publishes various tests of cleaning and washing products based on their effectiveness, where products receive an overall score based on Tænk's selected test parameters.

It is not much more than 2 years ago that Tänk for the first time gave the stain removal ability of soapberry as a detergent the lowest score in their washing test.

think soapberry test

(Source Consumer Council Think test of soap berries from Care by Nature)

At the time, we tried to enter into a dialogue with Tænk about the fact that stain removal is the wrong basis for assessing the general washing ability. After all, the majority of our laundry does not have difficult stains on it.

What makes many detergents score high in Tænk's own washing tests is precisely the problematic chemicals for e.g. stain removal or bleaching of the garment highlighted in this new chemistry test.

Therefore, it was also our impression even then that the test criteria favor products with unnecessary chemistry to dissolve e.g. grease stains, color stains and enzyme-requiring stains, as well as for bleaching. How gentle detergents will always score low in a test where stain removal is measured.  

We do not believe that general cleaning of clothes and specific stain removal are the same.  

Our motto is "Keep it Simple"

Our approach has always been and continues to be uncompromising. We have zero tolerance for problematic, unwanted and unnatural chemistry in our products. This means that we only add the absolutely necessary ingredients and research completely natural solutions, which make it easier to choose products that do not harm people and the environment.

Our soap berries are e.g. a pure natural product with only one ingredient in the bag - namely dried berries. We love how natural it is and being able to offer an ultra-allergenic and gentle solution for laundry. And we are proud that our products do not contribute to the disheartening news from the chemistry test.

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