Penalty for Edmonton-based company following investigation of phosphorus levels in laundry detergents

November 6, 2017 – Edmonton, Alberta

The environment and the economy go hand in hand. Environment and Climate Change Canada enforces its environmental-protection legislation as part of its commitment to maintaining clean air and water and protecting fish and wildlife habitats.

On November 6, 2017, Acuity Holdings, Inc. (Edmonton, Alberta) was fined $600,000 after pleading guilty in the Provincial Court of Alberta to one count of contravening the Concentration of Phosphorus in Certain Cleaning Products Regulations under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999. The fine will be directed to the Environmental Damages Fund.

Acuity Holdings, Inc. manufactures and sells various cleaning products, including industrial and commercial laundry detergents, under the registered trade name Zep Manufacturing Company of Canada. An investigation conducted by Environment and Climate Change Canada enforcement officers revealed that Acuity Holdings, Inc. manufactured and sold two commercial laundry detergents (Zeplift and Classic TKO), which contained concentrations of phosphorus in excess of the allowable limit.

Phosphorus is an element commonly used in the manufacture of detergents and cleaners. The release of phosphorus into the environment contributes to the over-fertilization of freshwater ecosystems, and it can result in the growth of harmful algal blooms in Canada’s lakes and rivers.

As a result of this conviction, the company’s name will be added to the Environmental Offenders Registry.

Environment and Climate Change Canada has created a free subscription service to help Canadians stay current with what the Government of Canada is doing to protect our natural environment.

Quick Facts

  • The Environmental Damages Fund supports the polluter pays principle. It provides an effective and innovative mechanism for responding to environmental damage by applying fines and voluntary payments to projects that support environmental initiatives.
  • The Environmental Offenders Registry contains information on convictions of corporations registered for offences committed under certain federal environmental laws.

Associated links

Concentration of Phosphorus in Cleaning Products Regulations
CEPA Environmental Registry
Environmental Offenders Registry
Environmental Damages Fund


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