- Ammonia: The vapours can irritate the eyes, throat, lungs and skin, and is particularly bad for asthmatics. It can also cause kidney and liver damage.
- Benzalkonium Chloride: This causes eye and skin irritations, and is bacterial resistance, and highly toxic to aquatic organisms.
- NPE (nonylphenol ethoxylate): This mimics oestrogen and is an hormonal disruptor that can affect reproduction and even cause learning disabilities and birth defects.
- Optical Brighteners: These cause allergic reactions and skin irritations. They are also highly toxic to fish, plants and animals and don’t biodegrade easily, staying in water for an indefinite period of time.
- Parabens: These chemicals accumulate in the body over time and have been linked to cancers and fertility issues.
- Phosphates: When released into water, they can cause an accelerated growth of algae which depletes the oxygen supply in water, thereby causing the death of fish and aquatic organisms.
- Sodium Hydroxide: This is a respiratory irritant and is highly corrosive – it can burn the eyes, skin and lungs. Long-term exposure (in the air) can lead to chronic skin irritation and ulceration of the nasal passages.
- Triclosan: This interferes with healthy hormonal development and causes bacterial resistance.
Text: Sunny De Bruyn, Home & Décor, January 2016 / Additional Reporting: Sylvia Ong
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