Main Committee on Detergents (HAD)

Main Committee on Detergents (HAD)


In the exceptionally hot and dry summer of 1959, piles of foam appeared on rivers and canals, especially at weirs and locks, which even hindered shipping. The German Federal Government then set up the Main Committee ?Detergents and Water? (HAD), which was composed of representatives from the water industry, the laundry raw material and detergent industries, as well as official experts and scientists. The task of this committee was to investigate the cause of the foam nuisance and to develop measures to prevent it. Committees were formed in the USA and England with the same task. Tetrapropylene benzene sulfonate (TPS), which is insufficiently biodegradable and which has increasingly replaced soap in detergents and cleaning agents since 1950, was recognized as the cause of the foam problems. The Federal Government of Germany then passed the ?Law on Detergents in Laundry Detergents and Cleaning Agents?, which came into force in September 1961. This law is the world's first environmental protection law.

The HAD developed methods for testing the biodegradability in a screening and a continuous test. The latter simulated the state of the art at the time in municipal sewage treatment plants. In addition, an analytical method was developed with which anionic surfactants in sewage treatment plants, surface waters and degradation tests can be quantitatively determined. These methods were stipulated in the statutory ordinance on the ?Laundry Detergent Act?, which came into force in 1964. In addition, at least 80 percent biological primary degradability was required for anionic surfactants that are used in detergents and cleaning agents. Parallel to these legal regulations, the laundry raw materials industry succeeded in replacing the TPS with a linear alkylbenzenesulfonate (LAS). As a result, the concentrations of anionic surfactants in surface waters dropped dramatically. Foam nuisance was a thing of the past.

Subsequently, the HAD significantly advanced the development of further and more refined surfactant analysis methods. The sewage treatment plant simulation test was adapted to the current state of sewage treatment plant technology in order to ensure the simulation of the real conditions. The coupling of the simulation model with continuous ecotoxicity tests enables a prediction of the effect of surfactant degradation products on organisms in rivers. A running water simulation model developed by HAD could not establish itself for non-scientific reasons.

In 1988, the HAD published the two-part status report ?Ecologically relevant data on surfactants in detergents and cleaning agents?, which received great attention beyond the borders of Germany.

HAD played a key role in comprehensive LAS monitoring at German sewage treatment plants and rivers (1993-1995). The results were presented in 1997 at a HAD symposium in Frankfurt aM and made a decisive contribution to the statement by the Federal Environment Agency (UBA) that ?LAS does not pose a risk to aquatic organisms after it has passed through biological sewage treatment plants?.

In November 2005, a much-noticed colloquium on the subject of fragrances was held together with Sepawa and the ?Washing for the Future Forum?.

The so-called HAD list was developed as an important instrument for assessing the environmental properties of detergents, dishwashing detergents and cleaning agents in view of the high degree of connection to sewage treatment plants in Germany (> 90 percent). It enables the comparative evaluation of different formulations and the identification of target-oriented development directions. The main committee ?Detergents and Water? remained in place until the founding of the UBA in 1974 as an advisory body to the federal government. He then had the status of a scientific body. In 1993, the HAD was used as such in the Division "Detergent Chemistry": the German Chemical Society (GDCh) integrated (now Division "detergent chemistry"). As a body of this Division , the HAD exercises a scientific advisory function towards the people working in its field of work. The areas of work and tasks of the HAD were redefined in 2016.

The equal composition of the HAD has always been retained. However, due to the positive changes in the situation in water bodies and the changed tasks of the HAD, members of the water industry are no longer represented.

HAD working basis

HAD list - what is it?

When assessing the environmental aspects of detergents and cleaning agents, it is taken into account that after use the ingredients enter the aquatic environment and can influence aquatic ecosystems there depending on their toxicity. In the DID and in the HAD list, ingredients are listed with their associated data for aquatic toxicity (LTE = Long Term Effect) and biodegradability or elimination in the sewage treatment plant (LF = Loading Factor).
The DID list is published by the EU Commission. In the new version of 2014, the system was changed compared to the previous version, new substances were included. The new DID list 2014 is to be used for all applications for the receipt of the eco-label.
As with all previously published DID lists, the derivation rules for the assessment of the individual detergent ingredients with regard to their elimination in wastewater treatment and their aquatic toxicity are based on criteria that do not reflect the conditions in wastewater treatment in Germany. In the past, a working group of the Main Committee on Detergents (HAD) of the GDCh-FG ?detergent chemistry? adapted the derivation rules so that the data assigned to the individual detergent ingredients in the list correspond to the wastewater treatment situation in Germany. Due to the publication of the new DID list 2014, it was decided at the meeting of the Main Committee on Detergents that took place on November 27, 2014 to adapt the HAD list again to the DID list with regard to the substances contained in this list.
The individual substance selection listed in the DID list 2014 and the numbering that has been changed compared to the previous list version have been adopted for the HAD list. LTE and LF values of substances newly included in the DID list 2014 were derived in accordance with the HAD derivation rules and entered in the HAD list. LTE and LF values for substances already contained in the HAD list are updated on the basis of more recent and generally available data (e.g. from REACH reports). The inherent substance properties are also the same in both lists. Only the evaluation or the safety factors are different. In the HAD list it was taken into account that the properties change after entry into the wastewater (eg NaOH "loses" the dangerous activity due to the high dilution in the wastewater).

HAD members

Status 07.03.2023

Andrew Bayer

TEGEWA registered association

Dipl.-Ing. Marcus Gast

Federal Environment Agency Dessau

dr Bernd Glassl

Industry Association Body Care and Detergent eV

dr Gerd Huttmann


Stephen Karsten

Henkel AG & Co. KGaA

dr Alfred Markowetz

Procter & Gamble Service GmbH

dr Lutz Nitschke*

Bavarian State Office for Health and Food Safety

Ricarda Piotrowski

Sasol Germany GmbH

dr Thomas Rauch

IHO - Industry association for hygiene and surface protection for industrial and institutional use

dr Michael Seebach

Clariant Products (Germany) GmbH

Sara Wagner Leifhelm

Stiftung Warentest Editorial staff test

* Chair

HAD list

HAD list (as of July 14, 2023)

Excel program for calculating the critical dilution volume for WRM recipes based on the HAD list

Derivation rules

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last modified: 22.04.2024 10:19 H from C.Kniep