Table 1

‚ÄÉMain chemical components of cleaning products

Type of agentPurposeExamplesPotential health effects
*Ethylenediamine tetraacetic acid.
Detergents (surfactants)Lower surface tension of waterFatty acid salts (soap), organic sulphonatesSkin, eyes, and mucous membrane irritation
Complexing agents (water softeners)Dissolve and bind calcium and other cations; regulate the pHEDTA*, tripolyphosphatesSkin, eyes, and mucous membrane irritation
Alkaline agentsDissolve fatty substances, disinfection, inhibit corrosion of metal surfacesSilicates, carbonates, sodium hydroxide, ammoniaSkin, eyes, and mucous membrane irritation
AcidsDissolve calciumPhosphoric, acetic, citric, sulphamic, hydrochloric acidSkin, eyes, and mucous membrane irritation
SolventsDissolve fatty substancesAlcohols, glycol ethersNeurotoxic
Corrosion inhibitorProtection of metal surfacesEthanol aminesSensitisation
Film formers, polishesSurface careWax, acryl polymers, polyethyleneSensitisation
DisinfectantsDestroy bacteria and other micro-organismsHypochlorite, aldehydes, quaternary ammonium compoundsSensitisation, mucous membrane irritation
PreservativesAvoid microbial growth during product storageBenzalkonium chloride, isothiazolinones, formaldehydeSensitisation
Perfumes, scentsIntroduce pleasant smelld-limonene, terpenes (pinene)Sensitisation, irritation