Accessible Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter March 31, 2013

Antagonisms between Surfactants: The Case of Laundry Detergents

Antagonismus zwischen Tensiden im Falle von Waschmitteln zur Wäschepflege
M. Paye, C. Block, N. Hamaide, G.-E. Hüttmann, S. Kirkwood, C. Lally, P. H. Lloyd, P. Makela, H. Razenberg and R. Young


Interaction between surfactants forms micelles that typically lead to a reduction of the irritation potential of the mixture. The objective of this study is to illustrate that such antagonism between surfactants is applicable to actual cases of consumer products e.g. laundry detergent products. The Zein test is an in vitro assay measuring corn protein denaturation by solutions of surfactant(s) and often used to predict their acute irritation potential. The Zein test data for the surfactant mixtures from nine representative laundry detergents demonstrate that the protein denaturation by the mixtures is, in all cases, lower than the cumulative score of protein denaturation by the different surfactants tested separately. The data clearly indicate that antagonism occurs between the actual surfactants present in their exact proportions as found in the consumer laundry detergent products. These data support the view that the hazard classification of detergent products as (irritant) by the dangerous preparation directive should not be based on a simple cumulative score of the irritation properties of the individual components of the products.


Aufgrund von Wechselwirkungen zwischen verschiedenen Tensiden (Mizellbildung) wird für Tensidmischungen häufig eine geringere Reizwirkung als für die einzelnen Komponenten beobachtet. Diese Arbeit untersucht die antagonistische Wirkung zwischen verschiedenen Tensiden für Verbraucher-Produkte, etwa für Waschmittel zur Wäschepflege. Der Zein-Test ist eine in-vitro Methode zur Bestimmung der Denaturierung von Mais-Protein durch Tensidlösungen und wird häufig benutzt, um deren Reizwirkung abzuschätzen. Die Ergebnisse für die Tensidmischungen neun repräsentativer Waschmittel deuten in allen Fällen auf eine geringere Reizwirkung hin als nach der Kumulierung der für die verschiedenen Tenside gemessenen Werte zu erwarten wäre. Die Ergebnisse belegen damit einen antagonistischen Effekt hinsichtlich der Reizwirkung für die in den Waschmitteln vorhandenen Tensidsysteme und zeigen, dass die Einstufung als „reizend“ im Sinne der Gefahrstoffverordnung nicht durch eine einfache Kumulierung der Ergebnisse für die Komponenten erfolgen sollte.

Dr Marc Paye, Colgate-Palmolive R&D, Avenue du Parc Industriel, B-4041 Milmort, Belgium, Tel.: +32-42789476, Fax: +32-43789575. E-mail:

Marc Paye has a Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the University of Liege. He works in Colgate-Palmolive since 1990 on the interaction of surfactant-based products with the skin. He is the author of more than 100 scientific papers and editor of 3 books.

Christian Block has a Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of Cologne, Germany, and joined Henkel in 1988. Since 1993he has been project manager in product development and regulatory affairs for Laundry and Home Care Products.

Noël Hamaide is Dr-Engineer in Chemistry and has a master's in law. Since 1993he is consultant for AFISE.

Gerd-Erich Hüttmann has a Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry from the University of Duisburg. He is working in Benckiser (now Reckitt Benckiser) since 1997 in Product Development and Regulatory Affairs for Dishwashing Detergents.

Sheila Kirkwood has a Ph.D. in Pharmacology from Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh. She is Head of Technical Services for McBride since 1994, responsible for product safety, legislation, health, safety and environment. She has been involved in safety of consumer products since 1981.

Christeine Lally has a Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the University of Munich (LMU), Germany. She has worked in the global Safety & Regulatory Affairs department of Procter & Gamble since 1988 and is currently Section Manager in the Household Care business unit.

Paul Lloyd has a Ph.D. in Biochemical Toxicology from the University of Surrey, UK. Since 1997, he has worked for SC Johnson as Regional Toxicology & Consumer Safety Manager responsible for the safety of all the company cleaning & maintenance products.

Petteri Makela worked for A.I.S.E. (the international Association for Soaps, Detergents and Maintenance Products) until 2006 a.o. as the coordinator of the working group on Irritancy.

Hans Razenberg has a Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of Utrecht. He worked 7 years for Akzo-Nobel before joining, in 1992, the NVZ (Dutch Soap and Detergents association) where he is Technical Director and involved in all aspects of legislation on chemical products. He is author of several scientific papers and author and editor of several books on legislation of substances and preparations.

Ralph Young graduated from Durham University in 1961 and worked as a scientist in Unilever until his retirement in 1998. Since then he has remained active with his special interest in the regulation of hazardous chemicals.


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Received: 2006-08-17
Published Online: 2013-03-31
Published in Print: 2006-12-01

© 2006, Carl Hanser Publisher, Munich