ABC of the most common ingredients in laundry products

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One important way to look after your family's health is by cutting down on the use of chemicals in your household, especially in your laundry, cleaning and personal care products. For example have you ever taken the trouble to read the list of ingredients of the laundry product, pre soaker or fabric softener you are using at the moment? Chances are the ingrdients are not listed, but you may take the trouble to call the toll free number on the packet to ask some more questions. Below follows an ABC of the most common used ingredients used in laundry products.

B for bleaches: Bleach consists of sodium, potassium, calcium or magnesium chloride. If too much bleach is used, "free Chlorine" can react with other organic matter in the sewage and form very dangerous organoclorines.

B FOR BUILDERS: These are added to soften water and increase the power of the surfactant. Phosphates, NTA and ECTA are used. NTA and EDTA combine toxic metals already in the environment. Both are suspected of causing cancer.

B FOR BIODEGRADABLE: In Australia the label "biodegradable" doesn't necessarily mean the product is 100 % biodegradable. Products that biodegrade to 50% may still be called biodegradable. Only old fashioned soap made from vegetable oils is 100 % biodegradable.

C FOR COLOURS: There are potential toxidity issues with these synthetic ingredients.

D FOR DETERGENTS: For centuries soaps made from fats have been used to clean just about everything. It wasn't until 1907 that the first synthetic detergents were made from crude oil. World production in 1984 was 17.000.000 tonnes. Many detergents are not readily biodegradable and pollute waterways long after use.

E FOR ENZYMES: These are proteins used to hasten stain removal in laundry products and in most pre wash soakers. They can cause severe allergic reaction in some people, and may also cause asthma in people who handle them a lot. They are called biological detergents (not to be confused with "biodegradable")

F FOR FILLERS: Sodium sulphate is the most common filler. These are used to create extra bulk and improve flowing qualities.

F FOR FLUORESCERS (optical brighteners): These are added to powder for that whiter than white look. They don't clean, but optically brighten by absorbing ultraviolet light and re-emitting blue light. They give the appearance of whiteness, but not a guarantee of cleanness. They are usually petrochemical sourced and may present a risk of developmental and reproductive effects in people.

P FOR PERFUMES: Generally synthetic, they are unnecessary and may cause allergies

P FOR PHOSPHATES: They act to soften hard water, increase alkalinity and help suspend dirt in water as it is removed from clothes. Water pollution occurs when phosphate rich water adds nutrients to waterways, upsetting the balance between algae and plant life, which can cause bluegreen algae or choke the waterays with weeds, causing lifeless waterways and streams.

S FOR SURFACTANTS (surface active agents): This is the name often given to detergents. They are generally only a component of detergents and are used as a wetting agent to enhance the power of detergents. They are generally made from petrochemicals( although soap made from fats is a harmless version), some of which, under anaerobic condition, biodegrade into nonylphenols, which are highly toxic to marine organisms.

S FOR SOLVENTS: these are used in many pre wash treatments. They are harmfull to aquatic life.

By becoming informed about the ingredients your laundry products contain, you will be able to make a more conscious decision to purchase products that are without the above mentioned chemicals, thereby protecting your family's health and at the same time care for the environment.

A safe and natural alternative is available at our ebay store Eeko natural and organic cleansers

A safe and natural alternative

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