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The Environmental Protection Agency’s Safer Detergents Stewardship Initiative

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is developing the Safer Detergents Stewardship Initiative (SDSI) to recognize environmental leaders who voluntarily commit to the use of safer surfactants.

The Design for the Environment Program has identified safer alternative surfactants through its partnership work with industry and environmental advocates. These safer alternatives are comparable in cost and are readily available.

The SDSI initiative is designed to promote green chemistry through informed substitution of safer surfactants

Safer surfactants are surfactants that break down quickly to non-polluting compounds. Nonylphenol ethoxylates, commonly referred to as NPEs, are an example of a surfactant class that does not meet this definition. Both NPEs and their breakdown products, such as nonylphenol, are toxic to aquatic life.

SDSI complements the Aquatic Life Ambient Water Quality Criteria for Nonylphenol. These criteria are designed to protect aquatic life in both fresh and saltwater and can form the basis for state and tribal water quality standards.

The SDSI program differens from the Design for the Environment Formulator program in that the SDSI program is taking an informed substitution route of a specific ingredient – surfactants.  SDSI focus’ on one component in a product vs. looking at all the ingredients.  The program is seeking partners from businesses engaged in the production or use of surfactants, as well as from those involved in the purchasing or distribution of products containing surfactants.

If you would like more information, please contact Kathleen Vokes ( This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ) or Libby Sommer ( This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ).

Quick Rinse - News From Around The World

Ecolab Receives Environmental Stewardship Award

AUSTRIA - An environmental stewardship award was recently given to Ecolab Inc. in Austria in recognition of the their efforts to reduce the carbon footprint of a local hospital laundry. The award is for implementing their PERformance SMART low-temperature at an Austrian hospital. The laundry program is said to reduce water and energy usage, in addition to shortening wash time.