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Excerpt from the report Preface: Surfactants (surface-active agents) are marketed in many forms and in many products, but mainly as soaps and synthetic detergents. Significant quantities of animal fats and vegetable oils go into the manufacture of both soaps and detergents. About 456,000 tons (worth nearly $39 million) were used in soapmaking during 1961, and another 169,000 tons went into various detergents and other surface-active agents. Pollution of water supplies by detergents that do not decompose rapidly in sewage disposal systems has caused a search for detergents that will decompose readily. There is interest in what the market position of fats and oils used in surfactants could be when new materials to answer this pollution problem are marketed. This report presents results of a study of the kinds of surfactants being marketed, the role of fats and oils in their production, and the likely role of fats and oils in the products of the future.


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