detergent spray bottles
Plastic packaging can take hundreds of years to break down – if at all, so look for products that come in biodegradable packaging. (Photo: Pixabay)
  1. 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.
  2. Benzalkonium Chloride: This causes eye and skin irritations, and is bacterial resistance, and highly toxic to aquatic organisms.
  3. NPE (nonylphenol ethoxylate): This mimics oestrogen and is an hormonal disruptor that can affect reproduction and even cause learning disabilities and birth defects.
  4. 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.
  5. Parabens: These chemicals accumulate in the body over time and have been linked to cancers and fertility issues.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. Triclosan: This interferes with healthy hormonal development and causes bacterial resistance.

Text: Sunny De Bruyn, Home & Décor, January 2016 / Additional Reporting: Sylvia Ong

5 Things In Your Home That’s Dangerous To Your Child
3 Things In Your Home You (Almost) Never Have To Clean
5 Steps To A Tidy Storeroom