Friday, August 10, 2012

Break-Down of Household Cleaning Products' Contents

Analyzing Household Cleaning Products:

I have always assumed that the list of ingredients in cleaning products is provided on the back of the bottle as in food containers.  I was shocked to find that this was not the case when taking a closer look to my household product containers. I have researched two cleaning products, their ingredients and the safety of these. I started with a Cascade Complete dishwasher detergent bottle; it was surprising to find that there was no such list of ingredients on the back.  Only a short paragraph of how great the product works, how tough it is on grease, and a warning to keep away from children. 
·         Cascade Complete: “Cascade Complete is formulated with more tough food cleaning ingredients that fight through layers of residue leaving nothing behind but shine.  As with all our Cascade products, our Pure Rinse Formula rinse cleanly away.”
Then with bold, large font letters:
“AVOID ACCIDENTS: KEEP OUT OF REACH OF CHILDREN.  Do not let young children use bottle or touch product in dishwasher.  Close protective cap tightly after use.  Not for hand dishwashing. Do not reuse bottle.  IN case of skin or eye contact, rinse with water.  If swallowed or gets in mouth, drink a glassful of water to dilute and call a Poison Control Center or physician.”  “Contains enzymes, do not mix with bleach containing products due to incompatibility.”
Never thought I could not have skin contact with the product that I use to clean the cups, silverware, and plates I drink and eat from. 

            After calling the 1-800-number on the bottle I found little indication as to how I was going to obtain the product contents.  Most of the options were tips on the use of the product, and locations of the stores where I might purchase them, until, at the end of the message I was told to visit a website or call another number where I could find this secret list.
Cascade Complete Dishwasher Detergent 75oz.  It states that its phosphate free but does not include list of ingredients:

Processing Aid
Tetrasodium Glutamate Diacetate
Cleaning Agent

Sodium Citric Bicarbonate
Process Aid

Safe but concentrations unknown
pH adjuster

Unknown Acid of Unknown pH or acidity.
 Sodium Silicate
Process Aid

Can damage Respiratory Tract, Cause Skin Irritation, Severe Digestive Symptoms,  may cause irreparable damage and even blindness
Modified Polyacrylate
Antiredeposition Agent

How is it modified? It is  acidic with pH between  2.5 – 4.0, eye and skin irritant
Xanthan Gum

Known Allergen, Respiratory Irritation
Polyethyleneimine, sulfanoted
Cleaning Agent

Corrosive, Causes burns, “Do not empty into drains, Never add water to this product”!
Alcohol alkoxylates
Wetting and Antifoam Agent

Corrosive, Causes Burns, Eye and Skin Irritant, “ Prevent seepage into sewage system, workpits and cellars”,
Zinc Sulfate
Etching inhibitor

Irritating to Eyes and skin, “ Very toxic to aquatic organisms, may cause long-term,  adverse effects in the aquatic environment.”
Calcium Chloride

Skin and eye irritant,  toxic to lungs, mucous membranes, repeated exposure can lead to organ damage. “Passes through the placental barrier in animal. Products of degradation are more toxic.”
Protease Enzyme
Cleaning Agent

Allergen, Eye and Skin irritant, Mouth and Throat Irritant.
Amylase Enzyme
Cleaning Agent

Allergen, Eye and Skin irritant, Mouth and Throat Irritant.
Soidum Bonzoate

skin contact (irritant), of eye contact (irritant), of inhalation. “ The substance may be toxic to blood, the reproductive system, liver, central nervous system
(CNS). Repeated or prolonged exposure to the substance can produce target organs damage” “Classified Reproductive system/toxin/female, Reproductive system/
toxin/male [SUSPECTED].”
Proxel GXL

Corrosive, “Cause  Severe Eye and Skin Damage, harmful or fatal if swallowed, inhaled, or Absorbed through the skin. Avoid contamination of Food.”Toxic to Fish, Do Not Contaminate Water or Food.”
Liquitint Bright Yellow and/or

Skin and Eye Irritant
Liquitint Bright Brilliant Orange and/or

Skin and Eye irritant
Direct Blue 086

“There is evidence that exposure to phthalocyanines can cause serious birth defects in developing embryos”

Not Enough Information to Research this Ingredient.


Artic White Bleach, 96 oz.
On the Material Safety Data Sheet it states that it causes “irritation of the mouth, throat, and stomach.
SKIN - severe irritation. INHALATION - severe irritation. EYE – severe irritation. It has a basic pH of 11-12. It is toxic to fish.
Inhalation of fumes or mists causes respiratory tract irritation and irritation of mucous membranes. If sodium hypochlorite is mixed with ammonia or other chemicals, evolution of chlorine or chlorine based compounds results. These gases can produce pulmonary edema. Never mix with any other chemicals. Accidental mixing may cause dangerous conditions that could cause injury to personnel and/or damage to property or to environment.
Eye Contact
Liquid and mists may severely irritate or damage the eyes.
Skin Contact
The liquid will irritate the skin, causing redness and possibly inflammation, or chemical burns to broken skin.
Mists and liquid are extremely corrosive to the mouth and throat, mucous membranes and stomach. Swallowing the liquid burns the
tissues, causes severe abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, circulatory collapse, confusion, delirium, coma, and collapse. Swallowing large quantities can cause death.

Toxic and Corrosive. This material may be harmful to aquatic life in low concentrations
SODIUM HYDROXIDE 0.5%: “Very hazardous in case of skin contact (corrosive, irritant, permeator), of eye contact (irritant, corrosive), of ingestion, .Slightly hazardous in case of inhalation (lung sensitizer). Liquid or spray mist may produce tissue damage particularly on mucous membranes of eyes, mouth and respiratory tract. Skin contact may produce burns. Inhalation of the spray mist may produce severe irritation of respiratory tract, characterized by coughing, choking, or shortness of breath. Severe over-exposure can result in death. Inflammation of the eye is characterized by redness, watering, and itching. Skin inflammation is characterized by itching, scaling, reddening, or, occasionally, blistering. The substance is toxic to lungs. Repeated or prolonged exposure to the substance can produce target organs damage. Repeated or prolonged contact with spray mist may produce chronic eye irritation and severe skin irritation. Repeated or prolonged exposure to spray mist may produce respiratory tract irritation leading to frequent attacks of bronchial infection. Repeated exposure to a highly toxic material may produce general deterioration of health by an accumulation in one or many human organs.”
There is an immense lack of specificity in the data provided by these manufactories, an essential factor in the assessment of toxicity of these chemicals is their concentrations and molar concentrations in solution; this data is missing.  It is important to note that there has not been enough research and testing on the safety of these substances, including their effects on the environment and on carcinogenic, mutagenic, teratogenic, and developmental effects on humans.  It is important to note how many of these chemicals are toxic to fish and aquatic environment, and yet they are being used as cleaners that end up in the drain system, again without knowing the concentrations of these substances it is impossible to determine how big of an impact they are having on our ecosystem.

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