(Section 1.7) Presently, about 50% of the surfactants used in the surfactant industry are derived from petrochemical raw materials, and the other 50% are derived from oleochemical raw materials.

Renewable surfactant feedstocks are often perceived as being better for the environment and should therefore be the first choice for environmentally ‘‘friendly’’ products. But is that ‘‘analysis’’ of the situation scientific fact or spiritually pleasing fiction?

From biodegradation, removal by sewage treatment, toxicity, and similar studies indicate that there is little or no measurable difference between surfactants based on petrochemical and renewable raw materials in terms of their direct impact on the environment.