New guidance can help avoid unacceptable risks to users of new products containing enzymes

Enzymes bring significant benefits to laundry and cleaning products, including improved cleaning efficiencies. An updated publication from the American Cleaning Institute (ACI) provides a framework for consumer product manufacturers to develop appropriate risk management strategies to avoid unacceptable risks to the users of new products containing enzymes.

Guidance for the Risk Assessment of Enzyme-Containing Consumer Products is now available for free on the ACI website, cleaninginstitute.org.

Enzymes usually used in cleaning products to "break down" soils and stains on surfaces into smaller components to allow the detergent ingredients to remove them.

The updated guidance notes that the laundry product industry has implemented a long-standing successful product stewardship program to promote the safe use of enzymes both in the workplace during manufacture and by the consumers of their products, using both appropriate risk assessment and risk management practices. Much of the information provided about enzymes for laundry applications can be applied to other finished products, including those in the cleaning and personal care markets.

Experience in the cleaning products industry demonstrates that potential risk of adverse effects can be successfully managed by identifying the hazards to be managed, carefully assessing exposure, characterizing the risk and then applying appropriate risk management. This publication provides strategies and methods that represent current industry best practices.

Dr. Francis Kruszewski, ACI Senior Director, Human Health & Safety

Kruszewski, who was deeply involved in publication of the new guidance and its 2005 predecessor edition, says that companies intending to use enzymes in their products should play an active role in understanding and managing enzyme-related risks, which can include respiratory sensitivities.

The guidance recommends that companies using enzymes in their products consider how they are managing enzyme safety and whether appropriate risk assessment and risk management programs have been employed.

"Appropriately managing health risks associated with enzymes across all enzyme-containing products will ensure public acceptance of this beneficial class of ingredients. To that end, ACI encourages product manufacturers in other sectors to avail themselves of the best practices laid out in this updated guidance," said Kruszewski.

The intended audiences for the guidance document are toxicologists, risk assessors and product safety professionals in industries formulating products containing enzymes.

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