The American Cleaning Institute (ACI)

American Cleaning Institute Statement – Study on Volatile Organic Compounds

cleaning products

The American Cleaning Institute (ACI), the trade association for the U.S. cleaning product supply chain, issued the following statement in response to research published by the activist group Environmental Working Group in the journal Chemosphere – and related news coverage – discussing the potential effects of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) found in cleaning products:

The proper use of cleaning products contributes to public health and quality of life in homes, offices, schools, health care facilities, restaurants and throughout our communities every single day. Everyone who has dealt with the coronavirus pandemic can certainly recognize this fact.

The article suggests that the volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that come from cleaning products are harmful, but most of what you smell is actually caused by VOCs. Cooking scrambled eggs, freshly cut grass, and peeling an orange all emit VOCs.

VOCs in cleaning products enhance cleaning effectiveness by dissolving dirt, grease, and stains, and provide a positive scent experience.

The findings of research on the estimated emissions of VOCs found in some cleaning products need to be put into the context of changes manufacturers have made in these products, particularly since this study was done with products purchased between 2019 and 2022.

The fact is, regulators have placed limitations on the VOCs in most consumer products over the past three decades and industry has been working with governments and regulators to minimize VOC concentrations to keep them well below levels that would be considered harmful.

Media reports on this research ignore the steps that have been taken by manufacturers to manage the VOC emissions from their products to ensure compliance, reformulating where necessary.

We take issue with the authors’ arbitrary criteria for judging products as ‘conventional’ or ‘green.’ Green is a marketing term, not a scientific one.

The cleaning products industry has demonstrated its commitment to manufacturing sustainably while maintaining its social commitment to providing consumers of all economic levels with cost efficient cleaning products leading to improved hygiene.

The American Cleaning Institute® (ACI – is the Home of the U.S. Cleaning Products Industry® and represents the $60 billion U.S. cleaning product supply chain. ACI members include the manufacturers and formulators of soaps, detergents, and general cleaning products used in household, commercial, industrial and institutional settings; companies that supply ingredients and finished packaging for these products; and chemical distributors. ACI serves the growth and innovation of the U.S. cleaning products industry by advancing the health and quality of life of people and protecting our planet. ACI achieves this through a continuous commitment to sound science and being a credible voice for the cleaning products industry.