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  1. Editorial

  2. Cosmetics, save the parabens

  3. Biocides: the industry is questioning the belgian government

  4. DETIC prefers 30°C. What about you?

  5. EPD, a promise with a future for sustainable construction

  6. In brief





Values that give action meaning


As a professional association, DETIC represents an interface between civil society (the authorities, NGOs, consumers) and one or more industrial sectors. As such, its mission is clear: to support, assist and advise its members on the responsible marketing of the products, services and solutions they offer. DETIC provides expertise in regulatory and technical matters as well as in communication and sustainable development. It acts as a spokesperson for its sectors with a view to creating and maintaining a positive and sustainable image. All this is founded on a philosophy: DETIC works to develop the potential of its members in the new Sustainable Development social model.


Viewed through corporate eyes, this seems a somewhat insubstantial undertaking.

In fact, communication between the business world and the world of associations is not always easy. There is nothing unusual in that. Associations do valuable work based on a specific approach and values that are very different from those of companies. While the quest for profit is the first and most obvious difference, it is far from being the only one. Solidarity, empathy and shared knowledge are the foundations that shape the base of an association, while rivalry, competition and confidentiality govern the business world. Well aware that these differences in operation and perception can give rise to a great many misunderstandings, DETIC has recently refocused its attention on its original added value and endeavoured to express this concisely. As an association of businesses, the exercise was well worth the effort.


So what are businesses looking for in DETIC? Information, guidance and efficient services, obviously. But thats not all. Company executives are seeking other things, too: a listening ear, help, availability and personalised advice. In short, that little intangible extra that they rarely find in their company.


On the basis of this observation, four sets of main values have emerged from a wide-ranging process of internal reflection. The spirit of association is the first pillar upon which DETIC must be based. Obviously, you might think. And yet it is worth recalling that cooperation, sharing and democracy bind an association together. Another pillar that makes us different is diversity and a good mix. DETIC includes various sectors, and companies of all sizes. This is a plus that members and their executives benefit from directly. Commitment and accessibility form the heart of our actions: we serve our members with enthusiasm and lucidity. Finally, openness and integrity guide all our initiatives. DETIC aims to be a credible partner in the social debate, listening to stakeholders and to consumers.


Far from being a theoretical and egocentric exercise, putting an activity into words  on the foundations of a profession  gives it meaning. A meaning that we are pleased to share. Find out about the values on which DETIC is built at and







Cosmetics - Save the parabens!


Preservatives are natural or synthetic substances that are there to protect products against the development of micro-organisms, especially bacteria and mould. They fulfil a vital function in cosmetics, where most formulations include a significant aqueous phase (i.e., are water-based). All aqueous phases provide conditions in which micro-organisms can grow very quickly unless their development is curbed by the presence of preservatives. And yet these eminently useful substances receive a bad press: several of them are the focus of stringent European regulations, some have been the subject of real smear campaigns, while others have been linked to the rise in allergy phenomena. As a result, of the fifty or so substances authorised by European regulations on cosmetics, only a small and constantly declining proportion are actually used.

This situation is hardly good for public health! In fact, regularly using a restricted number of substances increases the risk of allergic sensitivity. The phenomenon of an allergy is linked to the frequency of contact with a substance and its concentration. The smaller the choice of ingredients available to the formulators, the more frequently the substances available are used. Consequently, the risk of allergies goes up. If we add to this process the fact that many so-called 'alternative substances' (in particular, alternatives to parabens) have to be used in greater concentrations to achieve an equal effect, then it becomes clear that the cosmetics industry is heading towards a dead end.

At the same time, there is a real preservative-free market. In actual fact, this often involves smoke and mirror marketing. Either the product adopts a physical solution to protect its formula, such as aerosols or pumps that can be used to isolate the contents from any external contamination, or it contains substances that have a secondary preservative effect. In the latter case, these are preservatives in all but name. Not very ethical. The preservative-free sector is also a niche into which the home-made market is settling fast, a nightmare for anti-poison centres. These products are made by the consumer in uncertain hygienic surroundings, flouting all good manufacturing practices, and they cannot be kept for long. And if a problem arises, there is no relevant labelling, either. Given the increase in this market and the way in which it is promoted by a number of rash associations, its a miracle that there have been no serious accidents But for how long?

The story of MIT (Methylisothiazolinone) is particularly telling. The success of this molecule is largely due to a sort of conspiracy, based to a great extent on the exploitation of ignorance, against parabens. It offers an attractive alternative in terms of effectiveness. The only slight problem is that it has relatively more allergenic potential. Used together with other preservatives in the lucrative paraben-free market, it is currently being called into question by the public health authorities and is loudly criticised by former members of the anti-paraben brigade, the very ones who rolled out the red carpet for it not so long ago. QED! So there is a substantial risk that MIT will disappear in its turn  a  vicious circle that must be broken urgently, given the huge reduction in the formulators margin of manoeuvre to protect products against micro-organisms.

This circle can be broken. DETIC, together with an increasing number of allergists and dermatologists, is arguing in favour of chemical diversity. The wider the choice of molecules, the more diverse the formulas will be, and the less potential there will be for increased sensitivity to preservatives. In fact, properly managed by European regulations on cosmetics, preservatives can be used within scientifically assessed toxicological limits, taking into account the famous precautionary principle. More diversity in the molecules authorised will also avoid the use of alternative preservatives, whether natural or synthetic, which offer neither quality nor safety. And why not start with a campaign to rehabilitate parabens, which some people consider to be the best preservatives and which are by far the most widely studied. At the end of the day, this would be no more than just and could only benefit the consumer.




Biocides: the industry is questioning the Belgian government



Biocides. For most consumers this means pesticides or hygiene products, for the NGOs, an unnecessary evil and for the producers, an income and a towering mountain of legislation and approval procedures. But this mountain is the inevitable requirement for achieving the goal of all biocide producers: to develop in a clean and safe market.

The Belgian legislation on biocides is one of the oldest of its kind. Belgian producers or importers have been obliged to comply with it since 1975, so its been in force for some time. But Belgium is not alone on the regulatory train: Italy and Finland have also set a good example. And now at last, a new regulation, which is currently in the transitional period, will rule out Belgian legislation completely (2024). A welcome, harmonised but stringent framework that sets high standards for health and the environment and that producers need so badly to give their credibility a chance.

To prove and build this credibility, the producers also need a reliable and sincere partner, capable of giving them vision. Enter DETIC. DETIC is a source of information and assistance, aiming to lift the sector to a higher level. Above all, DETIC wishes to be a beacon for its members, but without losing sight of the overall picture and while aiming to reach all the businesses in the sector. It does this through the DETIC Institute, the recently established knowledge sharing cdialoog defentre that addresses all players on the market. In October 2013, it made the first step in enhancing the credibility of the biocide market: the information session 'Biocides, understanding and benefiting from the rules', which was a great success.

However, the strict application of the law and the industrys state of conformity with this law soon lose their exemplary value if its effort is not developed further. One final condition for a clean market completes the circle:  monitoring, even cleaning out, dishonest operators from the industry. This can only be done if the government gets involved and sets up an effective inspection campaign. DETIC is therefore calling on the government to further disinfect the Belgian market and make it more transparent.

Once this has been done, the market can concentrate on matters that are among the main challenges of the future for the industry: production methods and the sustainable use of biocides. Already, as part of this vision, the Federal Public Department of Health has published an on-line information sheet along with DETIC, OIVO, Phytofar and Comeos: / This gives consumers information on how to protect themselves and use biocides correctly, benefitting the environment and their wallets. However, this initiative is over-timid and it could be wise to re-launch it. AISE, our European ally, has also brought out a guide on the sustainable use of biocides for professionals. Its a good start, but certainly not the end of the long road to be travelled by the biocide industry towards being fully involved in making itself compatible with sustainable development. This compatibility is as much in the industrys methods of production as in how its products are used.

But even if DETIC is pulling at the shirtsleeves of the Belgian authorities, it is also rolling up its own. DETIC has scheduled a sequel to the October 2013 information session for early 2015 and, in the meantime, hopes to be able to count on the support of the government. Watch this space!






DETIC prefers 30°C. What about you?



"So long high temperatures! At 30°C, my washing is impeccable and I am reducing my carbon footprint. All you have to do is change old, outdated habits. Do the same, and together well have a significant impact, declared Frédérick Warzée, DETICs French-speaking spokesperson, on the website

"Making an effort for sustainable development means taking into account small, everyday things, too. I wash at 30°! The result: my clothes are spotless, I use less electricity and I help the environment. said Sarah Doms, DETICs Dutch-speaking spokesperson, on the website

Pierre Vandeputte, managing director of the firm Savonneries Vandeputte, backs the message: "Modern detergents are very efficient. Washing at 30° needs to become an automatic reflex for everyone. Joining forces is how well make a difference".

The tone is set. Old ideas are on their way out.

In 2014, DETIC has undertaken to promote washing at a low temperature, using a carefully-thought-out procedure. The message is simple and forceful: choose to wash at 30°C. The approach is measured and based on a washing guide that takes consumers to the most appropriate solution for their personal situation, while giving priority to effectiveness and environmental impact (download the washing guide: fr/nl).


But why should we prefer to wash at 30°C? 

Washing at a low temperature is effective in the vast majority of cases. With modern detergents and washing machines, it is now possible to ensure clean laundry at 30°C, if the washing conditions for this temperature are respected. So why cold-shoulder results like these? The benefits for the environment and your electricity bill are substantial. Whats more, clothes stay in good condition for longer.

Lets put it in concrete terms, because a few figures say more than long-winded sentences. Every second, in Europe, 130 washing cycles are started, representing 98 million washing cycles a day. Belgiums contribution to this amounts to around 3 million washes a day, done at an average of 41°C. Almost 68% of washing cycles are done at 40°C or more, including 17% at 60°C. With modern products, most washing cycles at 40°C (or more) could be done at 30°C without reducing the effectiveness of the wash. The environmental gain is immediate: washing at 60°C uses 1.3kWh, and at 40°C it uses about 0.7kWh. At 30°C, consumption falls to 0.4kWh. The 'I prefer 30°' campaign is being rolled out in five European countries (Belgium, France, Italy, the United Kingdom and Denmark) and aims to achieve a 3°C reduction in the average washing temperature. If this target is achieved, we will save around 1 300 GWH, which represents the electricity consumption of over 180 000 inhabitants, or the equivalent of the annual consumption of a city like Liège or twice that of Leuven!


To succeed, we need numbers.

The 'I prefer 30° campaign is novel because it adopts a multiparty approach. Partnership is the key word. I prefer 30° is aimed at stores, household electrical goods manufacturers, fashion designers and retailers, the public authorities, associations and all interested businesses. More than a campaign, it is a dynamic movement that aims to succeed together. DETIC can count on the participation of Procter & Gamble, Henkel, Unilever, McBride and Savonneries Vandeputte, as well as the Federal Public Department of the Environment and COMEOS. I prefer 30° also has the support of Amfep, Beko, AEG-Electrolux, Class, Dupont and Novozyme. DETIC organises communication actions with the dynamic assistance of the WOW Communication and CATS Communication agencies. All the activities are circulated via the website and our Facebook page: .

Despite the enthusiastic participation of COMEOS, the campaign has not yet attracted the attention of the mass retail sector in Belgium, even though this has happened in France, a neighbouring country where the same companies operate. Still, obstacles are just stepping stones and the partnership remains open to everyone who wants to be involved! Moreover, DETIC is constantly on the lookout for ambassadors. If you are involved in the areas of fashion, distribution or sport, if you are an opinion leader, a business leader or a scientific authority, if you work to protect the environment, fight against climate change or just want to support 'I prefer 30°', dont wait. Contact DETIC and visit

Whatever the last remaining climate sceptics may think, climate change is challenging us all, and that is the ultimate aim of this campaign: to try to significantly alter washing habits to contribute towards the fight against climate change. The important thing is that everyone does their bit like preferring to wash at 30°C. To conclude with the words of Theodore Roosevelt: 'Do what you can, with what you have, where you are'.





EPD, a promise with a future for sustainable construction



The chemicals sectors connected to the construction industry are suffering on all sides from discrimination based on the origins of the materials they place on the market.  

  • The basic dogma: 'all natural materials or materials of natural origin are compatible with sustainable development.'
  • The corollary: 'all materials resulting from chemical synthesis or having undergone chemical processing have no place in so-called sustainable construction.'


The dialectic: construction using natural materials means sustainable construction. 

For the industry, which produces both synthetic products and products of natural origin for the market, this logic is deceptive and weighs heavily on a market already burdened by greenwashing. DETIC and its sister associations are working to promote a system for measuring compatibility with sustainable development based on the performance of materials, throughout the lifecycle of a structure that can be described as a sustainable construction. Basically, we measure the performance of materials. We then use those whose efficiency contributes most to a construction project to design or renovate a building in such a way that the result and the working method used are compatible with sustainable development. This is undeniably a complex vision, but one that takes into account a reality not portrayed accurately by simplification.

The EPD, or Environmental Product Declaration, is a statement that contains quantified information on a given set of environmental impacts as well as supplementary information based on an LCA, or lifecycle analysis. It is a form of environmental labelling that can be used to position a product in terms of its environmental impact. The EPD takes into account a products performance in a system and, above all, the LCA approach that is lacking in so many environmental quantification systems. Belgium is putting in place a regulation that lay down the minimum requirements for environmental labelling on construction products and that establish the need to set up a database for environmental product declarations. All the environmental product declaration indicators recorded will be available for public consultation. Its a good step forward!

The initiative creates a framework for manufacturers who wish to place environmental declarations on their construction products. The declaration is voluntary, which enables companies to indicate clearly their willingness to be part of a sustainable construction process. The data are factual and enable an unbiased assessment of the products available. The EPD is a vital tool in the fight against discrimination against materials on the basis of their origins and DETIC is delighted with it. Of course, the EPD is not necessarily enough to enable a comprehensive overall system for assessing the sustainability of a construction (which has yet to be created). But it is a very positive first step that is likely to prompt a real change on the green markets a change in favour of sustainable construction, and a far more relevant approach that would be worth extending at the European level. 

The construction sector is not the only one to try to establish objective (and complex) criteria to assess the environmental impact of products. The PEF (Product Environmental Footprint) projects, a European Union initiative, are developing rapidly. The detergents industry has embarked wholeheartedly on a project focusing on washing detergents, a range of products that is particularly common and used in significant quantities. It will take four years to draw up the PCRs (product category rules), test them and express them in a communication system targeted at the consumer. Here again the approach, while complex, is in fact purely environmental. It leaves to one side the economic and social aspects of sustainable development but has the advantage of marking a practical turning point towards an attempt to objectify the criteria used for assessment and comparison. The cosmetics sector, meanwhile, has set in motion a parallel project for shampoos on a voluntary basis. The initiatives taken by the various sectors in the quest for objective and relevant criteria for assessing the environmental impact of products are therefore clearly visible. It is time to set aside old ideas and head off the greenwashers, who have had the wind in their sails since the emergence of environmental concerns among certain categories of consumers.





In brief


DETIC launches I prefer 30°

Supported by the WOW Communication and CATS Communication agencies, the whole team is ready to go! The actions organised as part of the I prefer 30° campaign will be relayed via a Facebook page and the website Follow the events using the news list!   


Join DetNet today

The DetNet tool (Detergents Industry Network for CLP Classification) is now available! This unique and innovative system enables the detergents sector to share data (over 180 reference formulas) and expertise to ensure correct detergent product labelling in accordance with the CLP Regulation.


The industry reviews its set of icons for usage advice

Following a modification in the design of one of the icons, AISE has reviewed its set of safe use icons. Update your set or consult the new set at


DETIC Institute

The DETIC Institute proposes a gourmet programme for 2014: organic products; how to market a detergent in Belgium; regulation, innovation and sustainability of aerosols; sustainable palm oil; round table on biodiversity! All youve ever wanted to know. All you need to satisfy your curiosity. For more details, contact


Susutainable construction platform

DETIC, Federplast, IVP, essenscia Vlaanderen and essenscia Wallonie are relaunching a joint platform dedicated to sustainable construction. The objectives: to draw up a joint action programme aimed at promoting the principles of sustainable construction and communicating more efficiently with stakeholders and the general public.


Information dates for your diary


DETIC Institute seminary:  Switching to a biobased economy? Definitions, certification and case studies

On 20 May, the DETIC Institute is organising an information session on the bioeconomy. The subjects covered during this session will include innovative projects, company case studies and various types of product labels.


Cosmetics Europe

On 12 and 13 June, Cosmetics Europe is organising its General Assembly 2014: "Consumers at the Heart". Register for the open forum via the link.On 10 and 11 June, Cosmetics Europe is also organising a conference: “Cosmetics at the Crossroads of Science and Regulation”. For more information, visit the website.


FEICA European Adhesive and Sealant Conference and Exhibition

From 17 to 19 September 2014, FEICA will be holding its European Adhesive and Sealant Conference. Click here for all programme and registration updates.





Responsible publisher: Frédérick Warzée -