Is your laundry detergent safe for you?
For most of us, doing the laundry is such a boring chore. We throw our dirty clothes into the washing machine and add whatever detergent we have available to get the job done.
But did you know that regular laundry detergents can harm your health and the environment?
Regular detergents contain harmful chemical ingredients that irritate the eyes and skin, lead to respiratory problems, and are harmful to the environment too!
Here is a list of commonly used harmful ingredients found in mainstream detergents.
Optical Brighteners and Bleach
Optical brighteners are synthetic chemicals used in detergent formulations to make the clothing appear whiter and brighter. This works as a replacement for the age-old blue dying technique.
Optical brighteners absorb UV rays from the sun and radiate them back to the human eye, making them appear whiter. It does not remove the dirt or stains. It just creates an optical illusion to enhance the whiteness!
Optical brighteners are not biodegradable, posing severe environmental and aquatic life hazards. It can also cause allergic skin reactions called contact dermatitis.
Bleach is another common household ingredient used to clean clothes, treat fabric and disinfect surfaces. Bleach is a corrosive substance and reacts with biological tissues causing severe skin irritation and cell death. Unlike optical brighteners, bleach does not create artificial whitening. It has colour lightening agents that remove the stains effectively and brightens the fabric. Long-term exposure to bleach can cause breathing issues, skin ailments, throat irritations, and eye problems.
Sodium perborate is used as a bleaching agent in laundry detergents. The substance is mainly used in personal care formulations, detergents, and dyeing.
Exposure to large quantities of sodium perborate or over prolonged periods causes nausea, shortness of breath, skin irritation, and eye redness.
Sodium Perborate is used to pre-soak heavily stained clothes. Manufacturing measures of this substance have been limited due to several health concerns.
Formaldehyde is another common ingredient widely used in dishwashing liquids, cosmetic products, and surfactants. It is used as an antibacterial agent and commonly used as a preservative. The ingredient is unfavourable for human health.
Formaldehyde causes allergic contact dermatitis, asthma, hormone disruption, and eye irritation.
In the long run, inhaling a even small amounts of formaldehyde can result in bronchitis and pneumonia.
Phthalates are a series of chemicals used as plasticizers to give a softening effect. It is a potent endocrine disruptor and extremely harmful to health. Phthalates are used in almost every product in modern society that has contact with plastics. It is used to help dissolve other ingredients and is commonly used as a fragrance in many household cleaning products. Phthalates help the fragrance last longer on the fabrics.
Children are more vulnerable to phthalates exposure than adults during their early growth years as it interferes with the development of cognitive ability in young children. Long-term exposure to phthalates negatively influences the endocrine functionality and reproductive system.
Furthermore, phthalate toxicity has been linked to thyroid cancer, neurological ailments, and respiratory troubles. Several countries have put restrictions and substitute measures for phthalates to reduce health risks.
1,4-Dioxane is mainly used as a solvent for chemical processing. It forms a byproduct during the manufacturing process of certain cosmetics and household cleaning products. The byproduct acts as a contaminant of chemical ingredients used in manufacturing and damages human health.
Long-term exposure to 1,4-Dioxane can result in skin, nose and throat irritation. Scientific research shows breathing 1,4-Dioxane affects the nasal cavity, digestive tract, liver, and kidney functions.
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) studies identify 1,4-Dioxane as carcinogenic to humans, which means that it can induce cancer. The substance is easily soluble in water, increasing the risk of water contamination and environmental fatality.
Does a Safer Alternative Exist?
Yes, plant-based laundry detergents, like Happi Planet Laundry Detergent, are made without any harmful chemicals. With its plant-based formulation, it is not harmful to your health and is gentle on your skin. Natural surfactants & bio-active enzymes remove dirt and stains effectively without impacting your health negatively. These products are also highly biodegradable, making them safe for the environment too!
What’s more, Happi Planet products are packaged in fully recyclable paper cartons that use 90% lesser plastic, as compared to plastic bottles.
Check out our complete range of products for safer alternatives that provide Effective Cleaning, Powered by Nature.
- The Dangers of Using Regular Laundry Detergents for the Environment - Tru Earth
- Bleach Toxicity - StatPearls - NCBI Bookshelf (nih.gov)
- 3 Dangers of Optical Brighteners in Laundry Detergent - and What You Can Do about It | www.alkuhme.com
- Determination of Very Low Level of Free Formaldehyde in Liquid Detergents and Cosmetic Products Using Photoluminescence Method - PMC (nih.gov)
- Phthalates and Their Impacts on Human Health - PMC (nih.gov)
- PUBLIC HEALTH STATEMENT - Toxicological Profile for 1,4-Dioxane - NCBI Bookshelf (nih.gov)