Friday, October 29, 2010

Video Watch List, Gripe With Big Detergent

Before getting into surfactants and detergents, here are some must see videos that are easily accessible on the net - two from U-Tube and two from TED.
From U-TUBE:
1.  Arithmetic, Population & Energy,  A Lecture by Dr. Albert A Bartlett, Physicist, University of Colorado, Boulder, subtitled, "The Most Important Video You'll ever See"  very easy, useful math that everyone needs to know
2. "The Most Terrifying Video You'll Ever See"  WonderingMinds42 (3 million views)
It doesn't matter if you believe global warming is man made or not.  The logic dictates only one choice - take every action you can to stop it
From  TED:
3.  Sylvia Earle's "Ted Wish" (more on this below)
4.  Ray Anderson's - "The Business Logic of Sustainability"  - (more below)

Whether you're an environmentalist or not, you will finds these talks enlightening.   They are related and I think by somehow combining the thoughts and solutions of these four people, the world might get a little closer to slowing down or even averting the cataclysmic environmental disasters looming before us.
Perhaps you're already familiar with TED but if not, this site offers a couple of hundred  20 minute presentations on  the latest from Technology, Education and Design , where the acronym comes from.  Other talks are offed as well, including many on the environment.   Start with Sylvia Earle's Ted Wish  (TED Link).    Her message is both shocking and inspiring.   Two things I found jaw-dropping were: 1).  Over the last 50 years, 90% of big fish in the ocean have disappeared (no mention of surfactants, after all she only had 20 minutes, commercial fishing is the main culprit here), and 2.) and the time frame to save the ocean is only about the next 10, maybe 20 years.  If we don't save the ocean, the Earth may one day look like Mars.   It was inspiring because she is able to speak with passion about her passion, the ocean.  Inspiring also to see that one person can make a difference, she was able to achieve her TED wish and is getting the word out to you and me. She also has a suggestion on how we can save the ocean, and it is worth hearing.  Sylvia's talk is just one among many on marine ecology which go beyond just being informative, it was eye opening and enlightening.     

Ray Anderson is the founder and now chairman of Interface, a producer of carpet tiles and other flooring products.   He is described in TED's introduction as  "The Greenest CEO in America" and noted for his efforts to make his corporation environmentally-neutral by 2020.   It is remarkable that a "captain of industry" would state that someday people like himself, might find themselves in jail, in jail for their roles as "plunderers of the Earth", an Earth that may become uninhabitable if we all don't join NOW in the effort to make it better.   His main point is corporations are mainly to blame for the precarious state of today's environment, and  business and industry is the only entity big enough to get us out of this mess.  He may be right but will the corporate leaders get the message in time?

Gripe with Big Detergent

Which brings me back to my gripe against today's laundry detergent makers.   Surfactants in laundry detergents have been poisoning our waters and contaminating our bodies for the last 60 years.  Studies after studies has confirmed this.  Yet, for 50 years, detergent makers have insisted that surfactants are necessary to make an effective laundry cleaner, they are not that bad, and, there was no alternative.   Regulators and the public bought into this propaganda, and today, we are seeing the consequence of having released millions of tons of surfactants into our waterways year after year for 60 years, waters filled with toxins killing and mutating fish and other water species.   Surfactant chemists have known from the very beginning the danger of the substance, but 60 years ago, who cared?  Who could have forecast the growth of its use, the magnitude of damage?   If anyone could have, it would have been big detergent.

The Toxicity of LAS Has been known for 50 Years

Looking more at surfactants over the last couple of days,  I found out this:   LAS has been used in laundry formulations  since the late 50's, early 60's.  I  was under the mistaken impression that LAS was a relatively newer, somewhat less damaging surfactant.  It turns out it's not. Nearly from the very start of LAS's inclusion as a laundry detergent surfactant, scientists began finding that LAS indeed is very harmful; deadly for water-living species.   Studies like "Biological Effects of Surface Active Agents on Marine Animals" done in 1971, quotes articles done on the subject from the mid 60's.   These studies are very clear on the effects of surfactants like LAS.  When LAS is put into water at concentrations ranging from 1 ppm to 100ppm, crustaceans, bivalves and fish(es) all died.   The most sensitive were the crustaceans' whose "first reaction to the surfactants is increased activity (avoidance reaction of mobile species), followed successively by inactivity, immobilization and death."  This was also true for the bivalves and fish they studied, although at little higher concentrations.
Now, when these studies were first put out, who really paid that much attention to this stuff ?   Not me, but you know the product development people working at big detergent makers knew about these studies, surfactant chemists must have read through the reports, and science reporters wrote enough about detergents that at least allowed most of us to hear about the inherent dangers of laundry detergents and other household cleaners. It's clear now that while we heard, we really didn't pay much attention, it is the second biggest selling surfactant for laundry detergents in the US, an holds closer to a 20% share in both Europe and Japan.

 Could Alcohol Ester Sulfonates Be Worse than LAS?

In my last blog, I pointed out that according to a reputable research firm's report done this year (You can buy it for $4,300), the most used surfactant for laundry detergents in the US is alcohol ester sulfonates, which again holds about a 30% share.   Take a look at the summary of one toxicity study:
"Sulfonate esters of lower alcohols possess the capacity to react with DNA and cause mutagenic events, which in turn may be cancer inducing.   Consequently, the control of residues of such substances in products that may be ingested by man (in food or pharmaceuticals) is of importance to both pharmaceutical producers and to the regulatory agencies."

"Alcohol ester sulfonates" and  "sulfonate esters of lower alcohols" has got to be the same, right?  Now, if you shouldn't ingest it, should you be washing your clothes in it, letting it permeate into your underwear, underwear that is touching your skin for long stretches at a time?   Remember, one of the main attractions of surfactants for chemists is this substance's ability to penetrate surfaces, including your skin.  

But before we sue the detergent makers, let me quote the rest of the summary, which really confuses the issue for me.

  "The study definitively demonstrates that sulfonate esters cannot form even at trace level if any acid present is neutralized with even the slightest excess of base.  A key conclusion from this work is that the high level of regulatory concern over the potential presence of sulfonate esters in API sulfonate salts is largely unwarranted and the sulfonate salts should not be shunned by innovator pharmaceutical firms as a potential API form.   Other key findings are that (1) an extreme set of conditions are needed to promote sulfonate ester formation, requiring both sulfonic acid and alcohol to be present in high concentrations with little or no water present; (2) sulfonate ester formation rates are exclusively dependent upon concentrations of sulfonate anion and protonated alcohol present in solution; and (3) acids that are weaker than sulfonic acids (including phosphoric acid) are ineffective in protonating alcohol to catalyze measurable sulfonate ester even when a high concentration of sulfonate anion is present and water is absent. " 
There's a bit more in this summary but I think you probably have the same question I have:   "What is the conclusion?  Is my detergent safe or not?"  If you think you know, please submit your comments. 
The article was written by Mr. Andrew Teasdale, AstraZeneca, R&D
Publication Date (Web): Mar. 10, 2010
Copyright    2010 American chemical Society

Googling "alcohol ester sulfonates" really doesn't produce that many hits.   I couldn't even find safety data on this compound.   Strange.

60 Years and Detergent Makers Still Haven't Developed Anything Safer!?

What is disheartening about all this is people responsible for making and selling these products did little or nothing to improve the safety of the stuff they sell.  We are basically using the same cleaning agents (surfactants) LAS, AE and EO as 50 years ago.  A few surfactants have been restricted and banned, surfactants like ABS (this was blamed, along with phosphates for helping to create all that foam and scum back in the 1960's, and more recently as either an environmental estrogen or a substance that raises environmental estrogen).   For nearly 50 years, detergent formulators have known that the surfactants used in their products kill fish and just about everything else living in water.   And, while detergent makers and regulators were generally perceived to be hard at work attempting to fix the problem, the reality was very little effort was put into finding a safer surfactant.  And, I suspect that's why we're starting to see mutations like inter-sexed fish throughout US waterways.      
We are left wondering why nothing much has changed.   The following are three suppositions:

1.  Everyone really believed the surfactants in use were unavoidable and necessary
2.  The makers need to maximize profits, they have to keep their raw material costs down
     (although I have no access to price lists, the literature I read suggests these surfactants
      are all very cheap, the cheapest way to make a detergent)
3.  The quiet, satisfied consumer, not knowing or caring about detergent safety issues

I would say the first is simply not true so we're left with 2 and 3 - detergent makers desire to keep costs down (justified by keeping prices low for consumers), and consumer lethargy - "it gets my clothes clean, that's all I need to know."

The first guess is inconceivable to me for the following:  Detergent makers all know about truly natural compounds like guar that can be used in formulations.   These makers will say they don't use it because it doesn't match the cleaning power of surfactants and consumers will not buy it.   Well, how do they know if they don't give us the choice?  They should at least try and put a safer product on the market and see.  My bet is it will be bought by the informed consumer.  Second reason is, if a small water research company in Japan can come up with what looks to be a much safer solution to get our clothes clean, why couldn't the detergent companies with their much larger R&D budgets, come up with something?   I just can't resist pointing out here P&G's R&D budget for last year;  $2 billion. (As a side note, this number is dwarfed by their advertisement expenditures, a staggering $8.5 billion.  They are number 1 in the world in this.  No. 2 spends somewhere in the neighborhood of $5 billion)  Granted, P&G sells a lot of different kinds of products that add up to $78 billion in total sales and R&D is done in many different areas.   But, laundry detergent sales account for somewhere between 10 and 20% of their total.  I would think they could have easily earmarked $100 million or so, in an effort to find a safer detergent formula, one that could at least cut back on the amount of surfactants found in their products.  Remember, P&G has spent huge sums on R&D for the last 40 years and should have been able to come up with something.  They haven't and furthermore, aren't liquid detergents much more popular these days than powdered detergents?   Aren't more surfactants found in liquid detergent formulas than in powdered detergent, perhaps by a factor of two?   Boy, instead of trying to decrease their reliance on surfactants, it seems they are increasing it.  Who created the demand for liquid detergents?   Are liquid detergents really that much more convenient than powders?  They've been spending big money on research for the last 50 years and we're still using essentially the same surfactants as 50 years ago and, per wash, more of it.   What's really going on in the research and development department of these companies? While you and I assume they are trying to find better products, including products that are safer for us consumers, it seems they are much more interested in researching products that will add to their bottom line.   Every one realizes company have to make money, but they must do so in a socially and environmentally responsible way, don't sell harmful products.  P&G's reliance on damaging surfactants in their laundry formulations needs to be challenged.   Last year, P&G along with other big detergent makers were sued by Earthjustice on the behalf of a coalition comprised of the Sierra Club, New York Lung Association, and Women for the Earth (along with a few other groups).   The purpose of the suit was to force P&G and other detergent makers to provide ingredient lists for their cleaning products, including laundry detergent.  This is the first challenge.   It will be interesting to see how the court rules.

Looking over P&G's latest annual report and the message by the CEO, I didn't find a whole lot on the company's stand on environmental issues.  There is something on "sustainability" in there, but "Sustainable for who?" might be a good question to ask at their next shareholder's meeting.  They definitely haven't heard Ray Anderson's message or if they have, is choosing to ignore it.  To put it mildly, this is all pretty upsetting and makes one question why we don't hear much about this but I guess you have to believe spending $8.5 billion in ads can get you a lot of good will.  Wasn't P&G ranked at number 6 on the list of America's Most Respected companies?

Monday, October 25, 2010

Surfactants in the Environment

"Come on!  I've been using the same laundry detergent for 30 years without a second thought and I've had no problems.   I don't have time for this."    Well, THINK AGAIN!

If you're old enough to remember the water pollution problem of the 60's and you think detergent makers fixed the problem, think again.   Water pollution today, and not just from detergents but pharmaceutics, agriculture, etc, etc, makes the dirty water and dead fish of the past feel like child's play.
While waterways look much cleaner and don't give off the awful smell of decay today, micro-sized particles of much more potent chemicals contained by them may very well be having a much more devastating effect on our health and the health of wildlife.   I'll list three examples of what I mean.

1.  From a video made by Cornell University  - A presentation on the dangers of detergent surfactants and how they are suspected in their role in the rise of breast cancer in women. 

 "What goes down the drain?  Laundry detergent, dish soaps, shampoo - all that stuff.    All those chemicals in the products you use don't just go away.   They go through sewage treatment plants but even though sewage is treated these chemicals can still end up in soil, in rivers, in lakes - end up in wildlife and some of these chemicals may end up in your water supply.  Have you ever stopped to think what kind of chemicals are in those cleaning products?  Surfactants, used to get the dirt out.  Surfactants that go down the drain and breakdown into environmental estrogen.   Chemicals like nonyphenol and octylphenol, chemicals that can get into the environment.    And scientists know these environmental estrogens can harm wildlife - they know they make male fish develop more like female fish.   And they're concerned that exposure to these chemicals can also increase women's risk of developing breast cancer.   Because environmental estrogens can make breast cancer cells grow and divide and 75% of all breast tumors need estrogen to grow.   So all the environmental estrogen that wash down the drain, from cleaning products and personal care products get into the environment and can add up and put you at risk for breast cancer, can put other women at risk for breast cancer."  Dump and Drain

2. The appearance of intersex fish throughout the US, is frightening.  Male fish that are developing female characteristics, including ovaries.  What is the extent of this problem?  One researcher says 80% to 100% (which is it? 80 or 100?) of the black bass studied in the Shenandoah River have been found to be inter sexed.  In the Potomac, in which the Shenandoah flows, about 60%.    Two obvious reason why this should be of concern, 1).  If fish become all female, how can fish reproduce? and   2.) It gives us an idea of how polluted the water actually is throughout the US.   Researchers believe the reason this mutation is taking place is due to endocrine disruptors that are released into the water through discharges from waste water treatment plants,  farms, ranches and water that flows directly into rivers after it rains.   The list of possible endocrine disruptors includes surfactants.  One such list can be found at: .

3. From Australia, an interview with Dr. Taylor, an expert on frogs.
 "Frogs are the highest form of life that lay naked eggs in water, as a result, any pollutant in the water will have an impact on the egg and tadpoles.  Because we use so many insecticides, herbicides,  heavy metals...we are destroying the environment and frogs are the creature that is telling us this in a very clear fashion."   "What kills frogs are what are called surfactants, essentially soap products.  Because of this frogs are not able to breathe through their skin and they die."  Interview with Prof. Mike Taylor
A study done by a team of Italian researchers done on tadpoles backs Dr. Taylor's claims.    A short summary of this can be seen by googling  "surfactants and tadpoles".   

The above is just a small sampling of problems that surfactants have been identified as being a major culprit.   What is hoped is you begin to realize that detergents, other cleaning products and personal care products are nowhere near as benign as the products being pushed in commercials and ads, in fact quite the opposite.

With hundreds of different kinds of surfactants on the market today and all their usage, the above does in no way condemn the use of surfactants altogether.  Indeed, there are perhaps many usages for surfactants that are beneficial for mankind.   However, not  in the formulation of a household product that is used worldwide to the extent that it is - not in laundry formulation.  

Living in a world where children need to know about "endocrine disruptors" and "environmental estrogens" really doesn't seem very attractive.  Can't name all the mistakes mankind has made throughout history but one that was made 60 years ago, putting surfactants into laundry formulations was one.    It's time to recognize this mistake and correct it.

Monday, October 18, 2010

The Surfactant Market - A $25 Billion a Year Global Industry

The overuse of surfactants, especially in the formulas of laundry detergents, is literally choking our planet and damaging the health of many living species, including us.    Most of us are aware that detergents are toxic to some extent or another, we've known this for the past 50 or 60 years yet there has been very little, if any significant progress made by detergent makers to bring to market a demonstrably safer product.  What is surprising in all this is, it seems when it comes to the danger of laundry detergents, the average consumer has remained relatively silent.  It is as if it is an unquestionable truth that detergents are dangerous by nature and nothing can be done.
Nearly all consumers accept the fact that laundry detergents are inherently dangerous, that in order to do what they are designed to do - get clothes clean - detergents must contain toxic chemicals.   We know the toddler who swallows a mouthful of detergent will need to be rushed to the hospital to prevent serious injury or even death.  We know water containing recommended dosages of detergent will kill fish, and, we know we have to run at least two rinse cycles in order to get enough of the chemicals (surfactants) out of our clothes for them to be worn safely.  For most consumers, this has become second nature, the common sense of doing the wash and an accepted price to pay for clean clothes.  

Admittedly, for the 99% of us who don't suffer from surfactant-related allergies,  there is a sense of sinful pleasure in crawling under freshly laundered linens.   Clean is nice, but to be excessively so can do more harm than good.   Today, if you don't know what's in your cleaning and personal care products, and you are not attempting to limit your exposure to these chemicals, you are not just hurting yourself.  By adding more dangerous substances into the environment than you should, you are exposing your neighbor (and the frogs and fish that live in your local pond) to even greater amounts of toxins.   This could, perhaps should,  be considered the chemical exposure equivalent to  "second hand smoke".   In my view, exposure to second-hand tobacco smoke is benign when compared to the danger present in exposure to toxic chemicals.  Any damage caused by second hand tobacco smoke is limited to the unfortunate few surrounding a particular smoker.   One can always move to another table or leave the restaurant to get away from the offender.  In the case of chemical toxins in the environment however, damage is not just local and not just to mankind, it is worldwide and encompasses all living species, especially those dwelling in water.  We can't walk away from this source of pollution,  it is everywhere,  even in our ocean.   One report estimates the amount of oil that reach the ocean is "enough to cover the entire surface, a few molecules thick, every two weeks".    Global Warming: The Solution   The author of this article could not estimate the amount of man made surfactants that reaches the oceans but a fair guess is it equals that of oil, perhaps much more.  The scale of damage being done today by the overuse of surfactants is unimaginable and if the world is to survive, the business of "doing laundry as usual", has got to stop.

Surfactants are not necessary to get clothes clean, Help Stop Their Inclusion in Detergent Formulas

Is it true that surfactants need to be used in order to make an effective laundry detergent?    The answer is no.   If one could get away from conventional wisdom and accepted practices of the detergent industry, one could come out with a surfactant-less formula that would clean laundry as well as today's surfactant-containing detergents, I know because I use such a product.  This product was not developed by a detergent maker, it was developed by a water research company.   With the exception of this one product however,  all  laundry detergents today contain surfactants, including green brands.  The detergent I use was developed in Japan.  It will clean my clothes as well as any national brand and will not kill fish.  A strong background in science is not necessary to know the significance of this, common sense allows most of us to understand that the detergent that doesn't kill  fish is safer than the one that does.  If it's safer for fish, the chances are its safer for other living organisms, including us.   So, why don't the big makers introduce this product or something similar to their customers?   Don't know for sure but here are four guesses.

1. The difficulty in overcoming conventional wisdom.   There is nearly 100% agreement among detergent chemists that it is impossible to come up with an effective laundry detergent without using one kind of surfactant or another.   The surfactant is the active cleaning agent in detergent.   In fact, the wording you find on some detergent packages, "cleaning agent" is another somewhat less noxious term for surfactant.   If you have any expertise in this area, you too believe surfactants are necessary.  If you've barely paid attention to surfactants and don't know if this is true or not, try to find a a friend with some knowledge in the area and ask.   The betting is, you won't find one person claiming an effective, commercially viable detergent can be made without using a surfactant.  "The surfactant is the detergent, stop asking such idiotic questions" is a likely reply.  This could be one reason detergent makers haven't come out with a surfactant-free detergent, they aren't looking for one because they are convinced it can't be done.
2.  The reluctance to give up on an idea and to move on.   Surfactant and detergent makers have been trying to find a safe surfactant for the past 60 years.   There has been a tremendous amount of man hours invested in this effort.  But the inherent qualities chemists look for in a surfactant  (the compound's ability to mix chemicals of variant surface tensions i.e. the ability of the chemical to mix water with oil for example, and the ability of the chemical to penetrate surfaces, including your skin, while safe in the lab, makes the substance inherently dangerous out in the real world.    A safe surfactant has yet to be discovered and by the very nature of the substance, it's a good bet a safe surfactant for detergents will never be found. 
3.  The dilemma of marketing a surfactant-free detergent.   If you were the CEO at a big detergent company, how would or could you market this product?   Are you going to tell the world the surfactant-free product is safer than the other brands we sell?   Wouldn't you be concerned about questions concerning the safety of those other brands?    Would a board of directors, at any company, risk the reputation of their current best sellers by introducing a brand-new untested brand?   Would the board of directors vote for a product that risked a whiplash from the consuming public - a consuming public that has been buying  surfactant-containing products for the past 50 years?    No reason to risk a tobacco industry-like scandal, the cost may be more than even the biggest laundry detergent could bear.  Although detergent formulas are under increasing scrutiny from government regulators, environmental and consumer groups, the producers of these formulas can not change their stance on the relative safety of today's surfactants.   To say, we're sorry, we made a mistake at this stage, 60 years after introducing surfactants into the home, would only damage the company's reputation.  While CEO's are undoubtedly sincere in their desire to make their products safer, their only recourse is pray that someone comes up with a miracle surfactant, an unlikely prospect for the reason already stated. If you're the CEO, could you make the right choice at the risk of losing your job or even worse, bankruptcy?   "This is real life people, I'm not getting paid to play superman in the movies!"
4.  The formulation of the surfactant-free detergent is too simple,  not enough profit in it.    The surfactant -free detergent I know has only 6 ingredients, all are well-known, in abundant supplies, easily accessible and cheap.   Without a variety of impossible-to-pronounce chemicals in their formulations, it would become more difficult to differentiate one product from another and impossible to justify keeping their multi-million dollar research labs.   If one company begins marketing this detergent, competitors could easily duplicate the formula, or so they think.   Competition would mean lower prices and lower profits.  In addition, this product could create problems for other lines of axillary laundry products like softeners, bleaches and whitening agents.  If consumers actually begin to make safety and the environment the top priority in their selection of a laundry detergent, surely they would stop buying laundry softeners,  bleaching agents and laundry fresheners as they contain hazardous ingredients as well.  It's almost a no-win, all loss situation for current laundry makers.  If they produced the surfactant-free formula and nobody bought it, they would be out their initial investment.  But even worse than this, if customers bought the product, the company would likely lose sales in all other in-house brands plus lose revenues from other laundry-related products.  In this context, it is not difficult to understand why big laundry makers are not going to be selling anything labelled surfactant-free.

By continuing to ignore the wasteful and harmful way we do laundry, we continue to add to the Earth's burdens.  

Collective Laundering, a few numbers:
   In the US:
   Number of wash loads:                           40,000,000,000/yr   (40 billion)
   Barrels of surfactants 
   dumped down the drain:                            4,000,000/yr (168 mil. gallons)
   Gallons of Fresh Water Used
    for laundry and discarded:                      1.2 trillion gallons/yr (conservative)
   Amount of Household CO2
    produced from Laundering:                    15 billion lbs./yr  (conservative)
   Global Market
   Worldwide surfactant market:                $25 billion/yr
   Value of Surfactants for
    Laundry Detergents:                             $12-12.5  billion/yr (rough guess)
   Laundry Detergent Market:                  $40-50 billion/yr

Concerning the above,  2 Critical Points:

1.  4 million barrels of oil (crude and plant-based surfactants) poured collectively into our washers and dumped down the drain.  This is essentially equivalent to the estimated 4.1 million barrels that spilled into the Gulf of Mexico  after the BP oil rig blow out.   Americans pour down the sink the same amount, each and every year, a chemical compound which is arguably more damaging than even crude oil.   The teaspoon or two of surfactant you put into every wash, collectively adds up to an ecological disaster.    And we shouldn't be comforted or fooled by claims that surfactants are effectively captured by waste water treatment plants and the little that is not treated, biodegrades quickly.  If so, explain how detergent surfactants found in the ocean got there?   
2.  The consensus is we are on the verge of a global fresh water shortage crisis, so why are we still required to rinse our clothes twice?  Assuming we use an average of 10 gallons for each of the three wash cycles (1 wash, 2 rinses), we could save conservatively 400 billion gallons of fresh water a year by simply cutting our rinse cycle from 2 to 1.   How much is 400 billion?   Enough to meet the water needs of 10 million people for a year.  This is in the US alone.   What's the number worldwide?  In a time when water is expected to become the new oil, this is a great waste of a precious natural resource.  
A surfactant-free detergent would require only one rinse because the reason you need to rinse twice is the difficulty of trying to get rid of the sticky surfactant in your clothing.  (Even if you rinse twice however, an estimated 30% of the surfactant is still left on your clothing and your linens, a great source of dermal toxicity.  Every time you put on clothing, minute traces of surfactant is seeping into your body through your skin, not good.)

While surfactants are found in all cleaning products and nearly all personal care products, almost half of total surfactant use is for laundry detergents, therefore attempting to decrease the use of surfactants in laundry soaps is a very big first step.  If we can reduce the use of surfactants in laundry detergents, the chances are we will find ways to reduce the amount of surfactants used in other cleaning products such as dish washing detergents, shampoos, body soaps, window cleaners and so on.  

Consumers must re-evaluate their priorities when selecting a laundry detergent.  If you don't already, learn to ignore the ads that attempt to lure you into buying the latest new detergent with images of the perfect clean and the aroma of a fresh spring breeze, developed for you in the labs of companies whose only concern is bringing you good products, at least that's the image conveyed.   It is just an image, and pure manipulation by people who are very experienced in the art of persuasion  There is a reason daytime TV dramas have long been known as "soaps".   Doing laundry has serious consequences to our health and the environment and the consumer's first priority in selecting their detergent must be;  find the product that can do the job with the least amount of harmful chemicals. 

Questions concerning surfactants and human health
   Number of people suffering from surfactant-based allergies?
   Number of people suffering from surfactant-based asthma?
   Number of people suffering brain, nerve and/or liver damage due
   to exposure to surfactants?
   How much has surfactants and rise in environmental estrogen
   increased the rate of women with breast cancer?
   How do surfactants interact with human DNA?

Since the introduction of synthetic chemicals in laundry detergent formulations from the 1940's, laundry detergents have always been problematic.  ( Historical Prospective on The Phosphate Detergent Conflict ) Consumers have been conditioned to believe harsh chemicals were unavoidable if you expected to get clothes clean.   Consumers need to be made aware that a safer alternative is now available that will change the perception of what constitutes a good laundry detergent.  We can make an effective, safer, surfactant-free detergent which consumers must embrace in order to at least slow the release of harmful surfactants and give our planet, our oceans, a better chance to fight back. 

Ironic, isn't it?   The products that are suppose to help keep us clean are actually contaminating our bodies and polluting our environment.  How dumb is that?   

Morphing to help save Earth,