The dangers of detergents

The dangers of detergents

Because we use detergents in our everyday lives, for cleaning, sterilising and other tasks, it is easy to forget that most of them are in fact poison. Without the proper precautions, detergents can lead to many health conditions and be a danger to children.

Reactive airway dysfunction syndrome (RADS)

If you work in an environment where detergents are used daily to clean floors, or if it is part of your job, you may suffer long-term respiratory complications from the secondary fumes. The vapour, fumes or smoke that comes from using these chemicals can irritate the chest and the rest of the airways, causing phlegm and damage.

Reactive airway dysfunction syndrome (RADS) is characterised by the immediate onset of asthma that follows a single exposure to irritating vapour, fumes or smoke, reports the NBC. More than 30 different substances have been associated with the onset of RADS.

Laundry detergent

In the home, the most common detergents are believed to be safe, but reports show that even laundry detergent can be detrimental to your health.

Branch Basics warns that the laundry chemicals you use can impact the air quality in your home, your health and even the outdoor air around your house. Always work in a well-ventilated area when working with machinery that requires the use of chemicals.

Scented laundry detergents and fabric softeners emit more than 25 volatile organic compounds (VOCs) per load, many of which are classified as hazardous air pollutants. When released through dryer vents, this can be detrimental to the health of people, even those a distance away and outside.


Be sure to keep detergents in top cupboards, out of the reach of children or animals. Sometimes, children will mistake colourful detergents for cool drink or other treats. Even ingesting small amounts can be fatal.

When using detergents, make sure the area is well ventilated, and that there are no children and animals in the immediate vicinity. If possible, do chemical work when the kids aren’t home. Early morning is best, so that all fumes have dissipated by the time they return. Also ensure that all the detergents are packed away by the time they get home.

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