• Short Summary

    Enzyme detergents dominate the market these days.

    In fact, in many stores, it is difficult to?

  • Description

    Enzyme detergents dominate the market these days.

    In fact, in many stores, it is difficult to buy a detergent that does NOT contain enzymes.

    Advertising shows the enzymes gobbling up food stains -- meat-blood, gravy, spilled baby-medicine.

    But there is a possibility that these enzymes may affect respiratory tracts and human skin ...

    While housewives ask for enzyme detergents in ever-increasing numbers, some important medical and industrial scientists are asking themselves hard questions about these powerful chemicals that are produced by living things. The usefulness of enzymes comes from their power to digest. Difficult fabric stains often come from food. So a chemical that can literally eat this food is a boon. After all, different types of enzymes in people's stomachs held digest incoming food.

    But Doctor IRVING Selikoff, chief of environmental medicine at Mount Sinai, Hospital sees other possible effects as well ...

    This is the Novo plant in Denmark. Novo is a pioneer produce of enzymes, and supplies much of the raw material with which American companies make their detergents. The Novo plant is modern, highly-automated, and -- as a result -- possible danger to workers is reduced to a minimum. The enzymes used in detergents are a bacterium called Bacillus subtilis, its commonly found in nature. Vast quantities of the bacteria are grown in vats, then broken apart by chemicals. The digestive enzymes are sorted out and shipped all over the world.

    In less than two years, their use has spread to such countries as Australia. There scientists using breath and skin tests are trying to determine whether enzyme detergents may have harmful side-effects. A still-unpublished survey of workers in one enzyme plant there was conducted by Doctor Bryan Grandevia of the University of Sydney ...

    In the United States, the federal government, ??? BY CYCLAMATES is looking into enzyme detergents ...

    Nevertheless, some housewives do complain that enzyme detergents give them hay-fever symptoms, and that the detergents themselves, or clothes washed in them, irritate the skin. Recently, Colgate-Palmolive developed a process called prilling, which protectivity Coats the enzymes. Colgate is offering the process to the industry, and hopes it will solve Most Health problems. Doctor Richard Wearn, technical director for Colgate, gave the first public demonstration for NBC News. Normally, when a detergent is shaken in a jar, particles will Float in the air. But prilled particles will not.

    This jar contains the prilled enzymes. Doctor Wearn explained prilling, with the help of enlarged pictures...

    Until prilling becomes commonplace in the industry, particles of enzyme detergent may continue to get on people's skin and in their respiratory tracts. Undoubtedly, though, enzyme detergents will continue to sell well -- because they do an excellent job of washing clothes.

    Yet, serious questions have been raised.

    So serious that one major Swedish detergent-maker -- Ab Helios -- has decided to stop manufacturing enzyme detergents.

    And Sweden's leading chain of cooperative stores has refused to sell such detergents.

    Here in this country -- as in the cigarette controversy -- personalities who are spokesmen are having second thoughts. One of these is Arthur Godfrey.

    To add to the enzyme detergent problem, a civil engineer at the University of Kansas -- Doctor Ernest Angino -- has found relatively high concentrations of arsenic in some enzyme detergents.

    Scientists, politicians and consumers -- having learned hard lessons about cyclamates, D-D-T and pollution in general -- are understandably wary.

    And in the future, there is no question that changes in the environment, no matter how minute they seem, will not be taken for granted.

  • Tags

  • Data

    Film ID:
    Media URN:
    Reuters - Source to be Verified
    Issue Date:
    HD Format:
    Available on request
    Time in/Out:

Comments (0)

We always welcome comments and more information about our films.
All posts are reactively checked. Libellous and abusive comments are forbidden.

Add your comment