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Use of Household Disinfectants Research Paper

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Updated: Dec 2nd, 2021

Populations which face the most risk

The majority of household cleaning products such as disinfectants put up the warning “Keep out of Reach of Children” in heavy type on their markers. As buyers, we presume that if children are prevented from swallowing these products, they will be kept from harm. However, the most widespread means of exposure occur by means of the skin and respiratory tract. Children are habitually in contact with the deposits which housecleaning goods issue by crawling on the floor, lying down, and taking a seat on the sparkling floorboards. Children, in particular babies and toddlers, often stick their fingers on their orifice and in their noses, escalating the dangers of exposure. When a child eats his food, it is very likely that the foodstuff is put directly on a chair tray that has been freshly cleaned with a household cleaner or dish detergent. Thus toxic chemicals go into his body through his digestive route. Another issue here is that children’s exposure probability is superior to that of adults’ for the reason that even though the number of hazardous chemicals in any product is constant, the body of a child is smaller in size, which in effect increases the concentration of the toxic chemicals. Further, their immune systems are not completely developed. As a consequence, children, in all probability, face the gravest danger of chemical exposures by means of disinfecting products. In addition, populations with a definite threat are breast cancer sufferers, elderly people, those suffering from ailments such as asthma, people prone to allergies, and those with weak immune systems. (Scarfe, 2006)

Categories of hazardous elements

Household disinfectants contain ingredients that can cause vulnerability in the central nervous system, reproductive systems, and various other critical human body systems. Consumers seldom have the spare time to be acquainted with or to seek vital knowledge relating to the products which they make use of. Further, the information is usually offered using a highly scientific lingo making extensive use of jargon that causes difficulties and proves to be quite tricky to interpret.

The three critical categories into which the majority of the harmful constituents in household disinfectant products fall are Carcinogens, Endocrine disruptors, and Neurotoxins.

Exposure to Carcinogens led to cancer and/or advances cancer’s intensification. Endocrine disruptors imitate human hormones, baffling the body with forged signals. Coming in contact with endocrine disruptors can bring about several health anxieties counting reproductive, developmental, and conduct tribulations. Endocrine disruptors are associated with abridged fertility, untimely puberty, miscarriage, menstrual troubles, weakened immune systems, anomalous prostate volume, ADHD, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and a few cancers. Exposure to Neurotoxins modifies neurons, upsetting brain activity, which bring about various problems like headaches, challenged intellect, and other diseases linked with the nervous system. (Khan, 2006)

Point 3: Hazardous Chemical groups in Disinfectants

  • Pesticides: Logical reasoning tells us that keeping off household microorganisms shields us from harm. Nevertheless, it should be remembered that these are fundamentally pesticides and thus harmful for living beings. They are fat-soluble, which makes it complicated to do away with them once they enter the body.
  • Alkylphenol Ethoxylates (APEs): These function as surfactants, which mean that they reduce the surface tension of fluids and facilitate cleaning solutions to smear across the surface being uncontaminated and help in penetrating solids. They are proved a source of endocrine disruptors.
  • Formaldehyde: Formaldehyde is generally recognized as a preservative. It is not common knowledge that it is also used as a germicide, bactericide, and fungicide, along with its other uses. Formaldehyde is a common ingredient in household cleaners and disinfectants. It is an established form of carcinogen. (Ozonoff, 2005)
  • Organochlorines: Organochlorines are brought about by the blend of hydrogen and carbon. A number of Organochlorines are highly toxic. They are bio-accumulative and are used in the production of detergents and bleaches. These elements are generally referred to as disruptors of endocrine and carcinogens.
  • Styrene: Styrene is a natural material extracted from the Styrax plant. Although Styrene is most frequently utilized in the production of numerous plastics, it also finds use in manufacturing floor waxes and other cleaners. Styrene is an identified carcinogen in addition to an endocrine disruptor. It is very harmful to the reproductive system, liver, and central nervous system.
  • Phthalates: Phthalates are most often applied in the plastics industry. However, they are also used as haulers for perfumes and air fresheners. These compounds are categorized as inert chemicals, and thus, no product-labeling obligations are present for phthalates. They are established endocrine disruptors and alleged carcinogens. They are closely linked to hormonal aberrations, thyroid-related ailments, birth imperfections, and reproductive difficulties. (Bender, 2007)
  • Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs): These are discharged as gases, which remain suspended in the surrounding air. VOCs comprise an assortment of chemicals, and exposure to a number of VOCs leads to immediate and chronic undesirable health outcomes. They are commonly found in a number of perfumes, air fresheners, and disinfectants. VOCs usually consist of propane, butane, ethanol, phthalates, and/or formaldehyde. These compounds cause a range of human health vulnerabilities, and together they are perceived as reproductive contaminants, neurotoxins, liver contaminants, and carcinogens. (Tomes, 2005)


Bender, Herbert F. & Philipp Eisenbarth; 2007; Hazardous Chemicals: Control and Regulation in the European Market; Wiley-VCH.

Khan, Faisal I. & Paul R. Amyotte; 2006; How to Make Inherent Safety Practice a Reality; The Canadian Journal of Chemical Engineering; 81, 1, 2-16; Canadian Society for Chemical Engineering; Faculty of Engineering & Applied Science, Memorial University of Newfoundland, St. John’s, NF A1B 3X5, Canada; Department of Chemical Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, Dalhousie University, Halifax, NS B3J 2X4, Canada.

Ozonoff, David. Mary Ellen Colten, Adrienne Cupples, Timothy Heeren, Arthur Schatzkin, Thomas Mangione, Miriam Dresner, Theodore Colton; 2005; Health problems reported by residents of a neighborhood contaminated by a hazardous waste facility; American Journal of Industrial Medicine; 11, 5, 581-597; Environmental Health Section, Boston University School of Public Health, Boston; Epidemiology and Biostatistics Section, Boston University School of Public Health, Boston; Center for Survey Research, University of Massachusetts, Boston

Scarfe, A. David. Cheng-Sheng Lee, Patricia J. O’Bryen; 2006; Aquaculture Biosecurity: Prevention, Control, and Eradication; Blackwell Publishing.

Tomes, Nancy; 2005; The Gospel of Germs: Men, Women, and the Microbe in American Life; Harvard University Press.

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