HC Deb 03 February 1970 vol 795 cc82-3W
Mr. Oakes

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government what studies have been conducted on the effects of enzyme detergents in sewage on the marine life of rivers and coastal waters.

Mr. Denis Howell

The terms of reference of the Standing Technical Committee on Synthetic Detergents were amended last year so as to include enzyme products in its field of review. I understand that the enzymes used in the washing powders are prepared from bacteria normally present in the environment and that similar enzymes are present naturally in domestic sewage at comparable, very low concentrations. The detergent enzymes are rapidly destroyed by bacterial action and there is no reason to believe that they have any effect on life in rivers or coastal waters, though no research on this particular aspect is known to have been carried out in this country. The committee is keeping the position under review.