Judgement in washing powder case to the consumer's advantage

Published 11-05-2009

The High Court has now ruled that the two detergent manufacturers Unilever and Procter & Gamble must follow EU rules for marking washing powder. Minister for the Environment Troels Lund Poulsen (V) is satisfied with the court's word that the industry must protect consumers with the correct marking.

"This ruling states categorically that the industry cannot just follow its own marking rules. As consumers, we need to be confident that the warnings on products are independent and based on recognised scientific methods, so that we can take the necessary precautions. We can do that with the EU's rules," says Poulsen.

Washing powders were previously marked according to the industry's own rules - the AISE guidelines. The Chemical Inspection division of the Environment Ministry in partnership with the other Nordic countries performed a check in 2003 on the danger markings of washing powders. Only 23% of the products checked at that time were marked according to EU rules in Denmark , which was highly unsatisfactory for consumers who were therefore not warned of the dangerous properties of the products, such as that washing powder can irritate skin and eyes.


The companies refused to comply with the EU rules, leading to an order from the Environmental Protection Agency's Chemical division in 2004. The order meant that the two companies were illegal, and they sued the Agency. Initially, the Agency won the case in the District Court, but an appeal was lodged with the High Court, which has now ruled in favour of the Environmental Protection Agency's rules.

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High Court Judgement handed down Tuesday, April 29, 2009

Further details:
Eskil Thuesen, Office Manager, Environmental Protection Agency, Pesticides & Gene Technology, tel +45 41 67 20 86 Thomas Hag, Department Media Assistant, tel +45 72 54 60 41

Link to green tips:
http://www.mst.dk/Dig_og_miljoet/Groenne_tips/10020000.htm