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May 29, 2017

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MOE to update standards for detergent to ban pesticides

Manufacturing standards for laundry detergent are slated to be revised, with pesticides prohibited for use in detergent products, the Bureau of Standards, Metrology & Inspection (BSMI) under the Ministry of Economic Affairs said yesterday.

According to the bureau, the newly revised standard will be officially announced in February, and the maximum fine for people who violate the regulation to be set at NT$1.5 million.

The Homemakers United Foundation (HUF, 主婦聯盟環境保護基金會) held a press conference at the Legislative Yuan and announced that 21 brands of detergents do not have clear labeling which indicates the antibacterial ingredients contained therein.

HUF Secretary-General Huang Chia-lin (黃嘉琳) said that there are six detergents that are labeled as containing the mothproofing and antibacterial agents triclosan and triclocarban, which are also ingredients in some pesticides.

According to Huang, some manufacturers even added thiabendazole or glutaraldehyde as disinfectants, chemical compounds that may irritate the skin, eyes, throat, and lungs.

The BSMI said that the main focus of inspections now is to see if labels on detergent products are clear.

Chang Wen-pin (張文彬) of BSMI said that according to regulations, officials can demand manufacturers to add warning slogans on their products.

"If a product fails to meet regulations in the Commodity Labeling Act, the offending manufacturer can receive fines of between NT$20,000 and NT$200,000," said Chang. "If the manufacturer mislabels its product, it will be fined a sum of between NT$30,000 to NT$300,000."

"The bureau will look closely at the labels of detergent products to see if they contain ingredients from pesticides that might affect public health," said Chang.

According to the BSMI, after the revision of regulations on ingredient labeling, no pesticides or environmental sanitation agents will be allowed in detergents. If manufacturers refuse to take their detergent products off of shelves after failing inspections, they could receive a minimum fine of NT$30,000 and a maximum fine of NT$1.5 million.

Pxmart Questions Greenpeace's Survey

Pxmart Co. Ltd. (全聯福利中心) yesterday questioned a survey by Greenpeace which listed the conglomerate at the bottom of rankings measuring consumers' feelings about the transparency of pesticide information among major supermarkets.

According to the survey conducted by Greenpeace, based on 956 people's answers to questions regarding the transparency of pesticide information, Pxmart was ranked at the bottom of all six major supermarkets.

Pxmart said that Greenpeace's design of the survey's questions was flawed because certain information about pesticide is not provided by any supermarkets, and some questions were too vague.

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