Our bathrooms are used to cleanse our bodies, but it is also one of the most dangerous places in our homes. From mold growth between the tiles, to the items we store in our cabinets, to the bacteria lurking around the toilet and basin, it poses a lot of risk. But did you know about the chemical hazards hiding in the common household cleaners you use?
Let's take a look at some hard evidence about the cleaning agents you use to safeguard your family, which actually poses severe risks:
1. Chemical Drain Cleaners
We've warned our clients for years about the dangers of chemical drain cleaners. These agents contain sodium hydroxide, sodium hydrate or caustic soda. Although this ingredient has been used for years, it is still toxic. When inhaled, especially by small children, lye dust can damage the nose, throat and respiratory tract. When making contact with the eyes, it can break down the proteins on the surface of the cornea and reach deeper into the eye.
Apart from the health risks, it doesn't actually help your drains. It can cause piping to corrode, eat away at plastic piping, and push the blockage further down the drain, resulting in issues that may be harder to resolve.
2. Lathering Shampoos
Many high-end shampoos contain a chemical linked to cancer, known as cocamide diethanolamine (cocamide DEA), a chemically modified type of coconut oil that is used to thicken the shampoo and help it foam. Some of these shampoos are even labeled as organic.
3. Bathroom Wipes
They first became known as baby wipes, but these days we have wipes for every purpose, such as removing makeup. Some manufacturers include bronopol in their wipes. This antimicrobial agent, which also acts as a preservative, replaces alcohol, but it releases formaldehyde when it breaks down. Formaldehyde causes irritation in the throat and eyes, and can lead to dizziness and headaches. It is also listed as a probable human carcinogen.
Many bathroom wipes also contain phthalates, which is a household chemical used to soften the lotion and to support the fragrance. As endocrine disruptors, phthalates pose a danger, particularly to young children who have not yet developed endocrine systems.
4. Antibacterial Hand Soap
Expert healthcare researches have been warning people that using antibacterial soaps can expose people to drug-resistant germs, and that it works no better in removing germs than plain soap.
Antibacterial soaps contain triclosan, which encourages bacterial resistance and has been linked to higher incidences of hay fever, food allergies, liver toxicity and thyroid dysfunction. It is also known to encourage a bacterial resistance to antibiotics.
Most concerning however, is that a study published in Science News revealed that triclosan can sabotage wastewater treatment efforts. By killing the microbes needed to promote sludge-processing efforts, it promotes drug resistance. It has also been shown to promote growth of certain drug-immune microbes, which increases the likelihood of them spreading through the environment via fertilizers that are made from wastewater sludge.
Triclosan is present in all kinds of toiletries such as toothpaste, mouthwash, deodorant and shampoo, as well as cleaning products.