Magic Amah Co (妙管家) announced yesterday that it was recalling two detergents that contain the insecticide permethrin and will offer refunds for products already sold, even though there are no laws banning the use of the chemical in detergents.
The company made the announcement after activists and academics released a test report earlier yesterday at a press conference, which showed that Magic Amah detergent contains, depending on different batches of production, between 37.8 parts per million (ppm) and 76.3ppm of permethrin, which can damage the human reproductive system.
The substance is widely found in pesticides and other environmental agents and if used as a pesticide for fruit and vegetables, the maximum residual amount allowed in Taiwan is 0.05ppm.
Homemakers United Foundation and News and Market commissioned a study on 35 detergents with anti-mite and anti-allergenic properties.
The results showed that most brands, instead of listing the chemicals used, say only that the products contain antibacterial and/or anti-mite agents.
News and Market said that it could not find any information on standard limits for permethrin in detergents on a search system run by the Environmental Protection Administration.
There are currently no antibacterial and anti-mite standards or regulations, no guidelines on whether chemicals such as permethrin can be used in detergents, and the contents of detergents are not clearly labeled, foundation secretary-general Huang Chia-lin (黃嘉琳) said, adding that the authorities should rectify these problems.
The government should tell manufacturers which substances can or cannot be used in detergents, said Tsai Shih-wei (蔡詩偉), director of National Taiwan University’s Institute of Environmental Health.