Can washing-up be dangerous to your health?

Royal College warns pregnant women to avoid chemicals found in products in the home.

Benzene poison risk likely to be greater in workplaces: ABB to issue work-related risk chart.

clip-art-washing-up-319717UK, June 11, 2013: The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) has published a report this month that says women should be made aware of the sources of chemicals to minimise the possibility of harm during pregnancy and urges them to "play it safe", despite uncertainty about chemicals' effects and the surrounding risks.

In its Scientific Impact Paper, the RCOG says that while there is little evidence to suggest whether such chemicals do affect a baby's development, or even if there is a risk to health, they advise women to assume that a risk is present. Women can be exposed to hundreds of chemicals at low levels, through food packaging, household products, over-the-counter medicines and cosmetics, the report says.

Indoors, air generally contains levels of benzene higher than those in outdoor air. The benzene in indoor air comes from products that contain benzene such as glues, paints, furniture wax, and detergents. ‘Anionic surfactants’ are the most widely used surfactants for washing up liquids, laundering, dishwashing soaps and shampoos, and alkylbenzene sulfanate is the most common. ‘Anionic surfactant’ will often be listed in the ingredients together with a quantity figure – “15-25%” for example.

Benzene is formed from both natural processes and human activities.

Natural sources of benzene include volcanoes and forest fires. Benzene is also a natural part of crude oil, gasoline, and cigarette smoke. It is widely used in industrial countries; in the United States for example, benzene ranks in the top 20 chemicals for production volume.

Around 640,000 tons of benzene is used annually in the UK, mainly in the manufacture of other chemicals such as plastics, foams, dyes, detergents, solvents, drugs and insecticides.

Because benzene poisoning is most likely to occur with prolonged high level exposure, people working in those industries are likely to be at greater risk than people who experience exposure at the low levels in home environments.

Source: Perfectly Picked

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