The American Cleaning Institute (ACI)

ACI: Time to Unravel “Deliberate Deception” on Banning Detergent Pods


The American Cleaning Institute (ACI) is addressing misinformation in a corporate marketing and advocacy campaign against laundry and dishwashing detergent pods containing polyvinyl alcohol film (PVA/PVOH), the subject of an effort in New York City to ban the products.

“The propaganda campaign launched by the company Blueland is simply deliberate deception,” said Brian Sansoni, ACI Senior Vice President of Communications, Outreach and Membership. “Campy marketing stunts can’t cover up the shoddy use of science and blatant efforts to scare consumers and misinform policymakers.”

A New York City Council member recently introduced a bill that would ban the sale of detergents containing PVA/PVOH, a water-soluble polymer encapsulating a single dose of a product. Blueland is supporting the bill through misleading claims about PVA/PVOH safety and biodegradability, claims that were previously rebuffed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

In 2023, EPA thoroughly rejected Blueland’s petition to restrict the use of PVA/PVOH films in detergent products at the federal level and reaffirmed the chemistry’s Safer Choice status and place on the agency’s Safer Chemical Ingredients List. The Agency also stated that there is “no evidence of toxicity or bioaccumulation potential for the soluble form of PVA used in detergent pods and sheets.”

The EPA was also critical of Blueland’s failure “to acknowledge the nature and extent of existing data” supporting the safe use of polyvinyl alcohol and that it has been extensively evaluated for decades by regulatory bodies around the world, including the Food and Drug Administration, for use in food and medicine.

  • ACI’s website provides consumers with science-based evidence on the safety and biodegradability of PVA/PVOH used in detergents, including a rebuttal of claims such as those made by Blueland.

Blueland claims these products produce microplastics, but the research that they cite does not distinguish the water-soluble PVA/PVOH found in detergents from non-soluble grades used for different products in other industries.

“Science is on our side when it comes to the use of PVA for laundry and dishwasher pods,” said Dr. G. Allen Burton, University of Michigan School for Environment and Sustainability and Department of Earth & Environmental Sciences, Co-Editor-In-Chief of Environmental Toxicology & Chemistry and Past President of the Society of Environmental Toxicology & Chemistry (SETAC). “Detergent films are made of a very specific type of PVA, chosen for its ability to readily dissolve and degrade. Generalizing that all PVAs are bad, toxic and not degrading is simply false and does not allow policymakers to make well-informed decisions.”

“The American Cleaning Institute and the cleaning product industry are dedicated to providing innovative and effective products that are backed by sound science,” added ACI’s Brian Sansoni. “The development of water-soluble films and detergent pods is a prime example of the industry’s success in providing products that not only deliver a powerful clean but also allow customers to have a variety of sustainable product options.”

ACI believes in providing all consumers effective product options that not only meet their cleaning needs but can also be trusted to be safe, for their health and the health of the environment. There are more than 50 years of published science that supports the safety and efficacy of PVA used in laundry and detergent pods. The compact nature of the highly concentrated pods results in reduced shipping costs and ultimately, a lower carbon footprint.

Millions of Americans utilize detergent pods every single day due to their convenience and efficiency, as well as allowing a more sustainable option for the environment. ACI is urging policymakers to review the scientific evidence and reject the misleading statements made by Blueland.

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.