Canadian Facts about Soaps and Detergents
Soaps and detergents keep your family healthy and safe
Soaps and Detergents encompass laundry detergents, dishwashing liquids and personal cleansers. Medical science has long confirmed the important relationship between cleanliness and health. The regular use of soaps and detergents is fundamental to the health of our society and the well-being of its people. These products help prevent contagious diseases, improve the endurance of the things we use them on, and make our environments more pleasant.
The following diseases and infections occur less often when soaps and detergents are used regularly and according to label directions:
- The average adult gets about two to four colds per year, most often during the winter. Children under six get six to eight colds each year.
- It is estimated that 40% of time lost from work and 30% of school absences are due to the common cold.
- There are over 200 different viruses responsible for causing colds.
- Over 3 million Canadians suffer from asthma.
- Over 500 Canadians will die from asthma this year. With education and the right plan to manage asthma, most of these deaths are preventable
Soaps and Detergents
- ACIScience.org – a publicly available repository of outcomes from research and technical programs of the American Cleaning Institute (USA)
- ACI Technical Publication – Against Disease: The Impact of Hygiene and Cleanliness on Health
- Smart Workplace Hygiene
- Soaps and Detergents: Information about the chemistry, history, safety, environmental impacts, products and ingredients, and manufacture of soaps and detergents
- American Cleaning Institute
- FAQs about Antibacterial Soaps and Bacterial Resistance
- Glossary of Terms for Our Products
- References for more information about soaps and detergents
- Handwashing Awareness Campaign for Canadian Children – Keeping Kids Healthy! (.pdf)
- A Teacher’s Resource for Handwashing: The 15-Second (Handwashing) Challenge
- Alliance for Consumer Education – Stop Germs
- Product Fact Sheet: Hand Hygiene (.pdf)
- How to Wash Your Hands the Right Way
- Safety Advice to Parents and Caregivers
- Canadian Consumer Specialty Products Association Voluntary Guidance for Labelling and Packaging of Liquid Laundry Detergent Packets
- Time to “Concentrate” on Smaller Packages
- High Efficiency Washers and Detergents: Working in Harmony to Save Energy and Water (.pdf)
- Laundry Product Fact Sheet: Soil and Stain Removers (.pdf)
- Laudry Product Fact Sheet: Laundry Detergents (.pdf)
- Using Single-Unit Dose Detergents Safely
- Single Unit Dose Laundry Detergents
- Industry Canada‘s Guide to New Apparel and Textile Care Symbols gives an explanation of the symbols found on Canadian textile labels.
- Sorting It Out: Tips for consumers about laundering
Ingredients that make up soaps and detergents are regulated under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 (CEPA) by Environment Canada and Health Canada. CEPA is “An Act respecting pollution prevention and the protection of the environment and human health in order to contribute to sustainable development.” The brochure “Assessing Chemicals in Canada for Risk: Protecting the Health of Canadians and their Environment” describes how processes under CEPA scientifically consider, in a comprehensive way, chemicals that are used in Canada and how they are managed to protect the health of Canadians and their environment. On December 8, 2006, the government announced a comprehensive plan for chemicals. For more information on this process, go to this excellent website: Chemical Substances.
Under CEPA, the New Substances Notification Regulations ensure that all new ingredients (substances) are assessed for their potential to harm human health or the environment. These regulations are also applied to new substances used in products regulated under the Food and Drugs Act.
The new Act – the Canada Consumer Product Safety Act and the Consumer Chemicals and Containers Regulations, 2001 regulate the way these products are packaged and labelled.
Antimicrobial hand soaps that claim to kill harmful bacteria or germs are regulated as (antiseptic) drugs by Health Canada’s Therapeutic Products Directorate (TPD) because they are treated as disinfectants. Before these products can be sold to consumers, the manufacturer must present substantive scientific evidence of the product’s safety, efficacy and quality, as required by the Food and Drugs Act and Food and Drug Regulations. Antimicrobial hand soaps must also be assigned a Drug Identification Number (DIN), which is displayed on the product’s label. For additional information, visit Health Canada’s Consumer Product Safety webpage.
For more information on antimicrobial hand soaps, see our Disinfectants and Sanitizers page.