14 Harmful Cleaning Chemicals – Compounds – Side Effects

Harmful chemicals compound, many of them is used in household cleaners product. Nowadays, it is common for many people to use factory-made cleaners in their household. Because of its practicality, we use it to clean our house. Those cleaners are made from chemical compounds that some of you might have guessed it, has a potential to endanger us and our environment.

Governments around the world even made some regulations, to control the use of the chemical in household cleaners. Some of them are being limited, and some of them are not allowed to be used because it is too dangerous. Because of that, knowing what chemicals that are harmful to be used as a cleaner is important for us. Below is the list of chemicals that is harmful cleaning chemicals:

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1. Phthalate

Phthalate is a chemical compound commonly used as a fragrance or to make the fragrance last longer in air freshener, or soap. If you look at your air freshener or soap ingredients, and there is a text printed ‘fragrance’ as it ingredients, it is highly possible that the chemical contained in your soap is phthalate. Phthalate brings harm to our body because it is acting as endocrine disruptions. It means phthalate will disrupt our endocrine gland.

We can get exposed to phthalate via skin contact or inhalation. When we get touched by phthalate, it will go straightaway to our organs, so a high exposure to phthalate can double our chance of getting the organs related illness. Furthermore, research conducted by researchers from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Harvard School of Public Health, men that have a higher phthalate compound in their blood had reduced sperm counts.

2. Perchloroethylene

Perchloroethylene is a chemical compound commonly found in dry cleaning solutions, or carpet cleaners. According to EPA (The United States Environmental Protection Agency), perchloroethylene is a chemical compound that can act as a neurotoxin. This means perchloroethylene can bring damage to our neural tissues. Research has reported that people who live in residential buildings where perchloroethylene are used have reported to experienced dizziness, and other symptoms.

It is also possible that perchloroethylene is a carcinogen. Long-run exposure to perchloroethylene can cause cancer. One of the routes of exposure to perchloroethylene is via inhalation. For example, when we inhale the smell of our carpets after it was cleaned.

You may also read: Harmful Chemicals in Bleach

3. Triclosan

Triclosan alongside with triclocarbon is typically found in dishwashing detergents, hand soap, toothpaste, face wash, or other personal care products. Usually, it is printed as an antibacterial ingredient in our cleaners product. In fact, it is actually an aggressive antibacterial agent which is why it can make bacteria become resistant to antibiotics. Triclosan has been linked to bringing harmful effects toward our liver. It can also disrupt our thyroid gland function, and become toxic to our respiratory systems.

4. Quaternary Ammonium Compounds

Quaternary Ammonium Compounds, or QAC or QUATS , is a chemical compound commonly used in our household cleaners. This compound is labeled as ‘antibacterial agent’. However, by using this compound we are actually helping breeding more antibiotic resistant bacteria just like we did if we use triclosan. It is also suspected that QUATS is the cause of respiratory disorders, and skin irritation.

Furthermore, QUATS also contribute in developing asthma in healthy people. Healthy people exposed to QUATS on a regular basis are discovered to develop asthma. In another word, it is an asthmagen substance.

Also read: Common Chemicals Used at Home

5. 2-Butoxyethanol

2-Butoxyethanol is a chemical compound, who belongs to glycol ethers, found in windows or kitchen cleaner, and another multipurpose cleaner for the household. According to EPA, 2-butoxyethanol can make us get a sore throat if we inhaled it directly. More than that, it can also cause pulmonary hydrops and severe kidney or liver damage. In addition to that, when it is at a high level, it can contribute to narcosis. Our red blood cells can also get damaged by it. It is strongly suggested that 2-Butoxyethanol should not be exposed to the air.

Also read: Chemicals in Air Fresheners

6. Chlorine

Chlorine is one of the most famous chemicals used in household cleaners products. Typically, the factory uses it to make toilet cleaners, whitener in a laundry, or cleaners in household tap water. Chlorine can bring irritation to our respiratory systems. It is possible, and it is suspected that chlorine is a serious thyroid gland disrupter. We are exposed to chlorine via inhalation of steam or our skin while we are showering. Be careful if your use bathroom cleaners that used chlorine as it a chemical component, because it is possible that chlorine has gone through your skin unknowingly.

7. Paraben

Paraben is a synthetic chemical that is used as “fragrance” in cleaning or personal care products. It was observed that parabens are xenoestrogens. Xenoestrogens are a chemical that mimics estrogen in our body. It is known that paraben can interfere with hormone production and release if we are exposed to it. In addition, parabens are also found to linked reproductive issues.

8. Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS)

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate is found in our soaps, shampoos, laundry detergent, body washes, and much more. It is used as an emulsifier and foaming agent. Even though it is made from natural coconut, SLS is contaminated with a toxic byproduct, in the process of making it. According to the EWG, SLS can be listed with other names. The other names of SLS such as sulfuric acid, monododecyl ester, sodium salt, aquarex me, and many others. It is actually a carcinogen, toxic to our organ, neural tissues, can cause skin irritation and endocrine disruption.

9. Formaldehyde

Formaldehyde is used as a disinfectant because it can kills bacteria and fungi. Some of your disinfectant in your cleaners might contain some form of formaldehyde. It is an organic chemical that actually has a lot of risks if it is exposed to us. We can get exposed to it via inhalation because formaldehyde is naturally gas compound, or via skin absorption.

The risk of formaldehyde for us is an irritation to the skin, throat, eyes or nose. High exposure to it might cause blood, nose or throat cancer. If we drink it, there is a possibility that we will have respiratory failure, that might lead to coma or death. Other than that, it might cause convulsions, nausea, vertigo, stupor, diarrhea, or might makes us vomit. Continued exposure to formaldehyde (via inhalation or skin exposure) might cause irritation to our nose, throat, skin, and eyes. People with asthma are more sensitive to formaldehyde exposure, and that’s why they should avoid exposed to formaldehyde. In addition, women can have a menstrual disorder if they are exposed to formaldehyde.

10. Borax

Borax can be found in a laundry or dishwashing detergents. It is discovered that exposure to borax can bring us harm, specifically to our reproductive tissues. Men can have a decrease of sperm production if they are exposed to borax for a long time, that is why men should avoid it. In another research, by exposing borax to animals that were pregnant, it is found that borax can cross the placenta and then affect the skeletal development and weight at birth of the baby.

You may also read: Chemicals in Food – List of Food Preservatives

11. 1,4 Dioxane

1,4-Dioxane is found in our liquid laundry detergents or some children bath products. It is an organic compound that is classified as an ether. Research has shown that this chemical is related to cancer (carcinogenic) and can bring skin allergies to some people. Short-term inhalation of 1,4-dioxane can cause a headache, anorexia, irritation, and drowsiness. While in the long term, it is observed that 1,4-dioxane damage the liver and kidneys, and tumors.

12. Sodium Hydroxide

Sodium hydroxide, also known as lye and caustic soda is an inorganic compound found in oven cleaners. It is a colorless crystalline solid that is highly soluble in water, but lower solubility in methanol and ethanol. But it can’t get dissolved in ether or other polar solvents. Even though it has a cool name, when you are exposed to it directly, it can severely burn your skin and eye. It also can give you a sore throat that lasts for several days if you inhale it.

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13. Ammonia

Ammonia is one of the harmful cleaning chemicals, typically used in glass cleaner or in hard-surface cleaners. We can also found in a bathroom as a polishing agent in bathroom fixtures. Ammonia can cause skin, throat or eyes irritation to many people. If we are exposed to it via inhalation, we can get coughing. People with asthma, elderly with lung problems or breathing problems, are some of the people who will really get affected by ammonia. Even healthy people can get bronchitis or asthma if they are regularly or massively exposed to ammonia.

14. Organochlorines

Organochlorines are chemicals made from the combination of hydrogen and carbon. This chemical is bioaccumulative, and it can persist in the environment for long. It is present in pesticides, bleaches, dry cleaning fluids and so on. It is actually carcinogen and endocrine disrupters. Which mean, if we are exposed to it, or accidentally drink it, it can cause cancer or many other lethal illnesses. It is suggested that we should avoid it.

Those are some of the harmful chemicals that we use and produced in our chemicals cleaners. Thank you for reading this article about harmful cleaning chemicals!

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