Newswise — WASHINGTON, D.C., August 26, 2011 – Groups representing laundry product and fragrance manufacturers sharply rebutted seriously flawed statements regarding fragrances in laundry products based on a study that fails to meet the basic principles of scientific investigation.

The American Cleaning Institute, Consumer Specialty Products Association, International Fragrance Association-North America, and the Research Institute for Fragrance Materials, Inc. reiterated the safety and effectiveness of scented laundry products that are attacked by University of Washington professor Anne Steinemann in her latest paper and press release. The paper makes unsubstantiated claims about emissions from dryer vents after using certain laundry products.

“Consumers should not be swayed by the sensationalist headlines that may come across the Internet related to this so-called research,” the groups said. “Fragranced fabric care products are safe when used as directed. The safe and responsible manufacture and use of cleaning products is an absolute top priority within our industry.”

The manufacturer groups expressed disappointment that the paper’s authors exploited their findings of volatile organic compounds emanating from dryer vents based on a dataset of such limited size and plagued by the confounding effects of their study design. Their own data could equally support the conclusion that most of the trace compounds could come from sources other than laundry products.

The industry groups noted that the information provided in the paper is far short of being detailed enough to replicate the study – a standard measure of any truly scientific study – let alone judge the applicability of the findings to how consumers use the products investigated in the study. The information is lacking a number of factors that could impact the fate of the ingredients in the products studied:

• The brands and models of the washers and dryers used in the study.• The operational settings of the washers and dryers during the study e.g., load size setting, agitator setting, wash/rinse and dryer temperature setting, number of wash/rinse cycles and their duration.• The types of dryers - gas vs. electric (note: if a gas dryer were used, exhaust from the combustion of the gas would be in the dryer vent emissions).• The highest concentrations of 4 of the 7 hazardous air pollutants detected were found when no laundry products were included.• The number of controls used in the study is limited. They should include non-fragranced products as well as using detergent or dryer sheets alone.

Regarding the special attention that was given to the findings on benzene, the authors have stretched beyond the limits of imagination and speculation. Benzene is naturally present in various foods and constantly present in both indoor and outdoor air. It is not used in fragranced products. The author’s conclusions are completely unsupported by their own data. No benzene was found in dryer emission samples at one household, with and without products. Meanwhile, they found benzene in the emissions from another dryer when product was not used, as well as when both laundry and dryer products were used. Although, no benzene emissions were detected when using just laundry detergent, the data shows that benzene levels were actually lowered when clothes were washed with detergents and dried using a dryer sheet for the second dryer. Thus, it is false to conclude that the benzene they measured was due to the products.

Regarding trace elements of acetaldehyde that was found: acetaldehyde is emitted from a wide range of natural sources, including apples and people's breath. In fact, the human body generates significant levels of acetaldehyde anytime an alcoholic product is ingested, because acetaldehyde is created during the metabolism of alcohol. The levels in the body as a result of alcohol breakdown would be expected to be higher than those that could occur from atmospheric exposure to dryer vent exhaust. In fact, acetaldehyde concentrations from using no products were similar or even higher than the results they obtained when products were used.

Activism Shouldn’t Trump Good Science, Common Sense

“Political activism should never trump good science and common sense,” the groups said. “Consumers can continue to use laundry and fabric care products like they do every day: safely and effectively.”


The American Cleaning Institute® (ACI - formerly The Soap and Detergent Association) is the Home of the U.S. Cleaning Products Industry® and represents the $30 billion U.S. cleaning products market. ACI members include the formulators of soaps, detergents, and general cleaning products used in household, commercial, industrial and institutional settings; companies that supply ingredients and finished packaging for these products; and oleochemical producers. ACI ( and its members are dedicated to improving health and the quality of life through sustainable cleaning products and practices.

The Consumer Specialty Products Association (CSPA) is the premier trade association representing the interests of companies engaged in the manufacture, formulation, distribution and sale of more than $80 billion annually in the U.S. of familiar consumer products that help household and institutional customers create cleaner and healthier environments. CSPA member companies employ hundreds of thousands of people globally. Products CSPA represents include disinfectants that kill germs in homes, hospitals and restaurants; candles, and fragrances and air fresheners that eliminate odors; pest management products for home, garden and pets; cleaning products and polishes for use throughout the home and institutions; products used to protect and improve the performance and appearance of automobiles; aerosol products and a host of other products used every day. Through its product stewardship program, Product Care®, and scientific and business-to-business endeavors, CSPA provides its members a platform to effectively address issues regarding the health, safety and sustainability of their products. For more information, please visit

About the International Fragrance Association North America (IFRA North America) – IFRA North America represents the fragrance materials industry in the United States and Canada. IFRA North America member companies create and manufacture perfumes and fragrances for personal care, home care, and home design products. Companies that supply fragrance ingredients, such as essential oils and other raw materials, are also IFRA North America members.

RIFM is the international scientific authority for the safe use of fragrance materials. RIFM generates, evaluates and distributes scientific data on the safety assessment of fragrance raw materials found in personal and household care products. Through extensive research, testing and constant monitoring of all scientific literature available, RIFM maintains its Database as the most comprehensive source worldwide of physical-chemical, toxicological and eco-toxicological data associated with known fragrance and flavor materials. All of RIFM’s scientific findings are evaluated by an independent Expert Panel—an international group of dermatologists, pathologists, toxicologists, respiratory, reproductive and environmental scientists. The Expert Panel evaluates the safety of fragrance ingredients under conditions of intended use and publishes their results in peer-reviewed scientific journals. The decisions of the Expert Panel regarding restrictions of use are published as IFRA Standards. For more information about RIFM and its activities, visit or e-mail [email protected].

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