Kenya Chemical Society (KCS) Warns of Harmful Chemicals in Household Cleaning Agents

  • Shoppers walk along a supermarket aisle with common household cleaning agents Twitter
  • The Kenya Chemical Society (KCS) has sent out a warning on carcinogenic components found in common household cleaning agents.

    The report outlines that some detergents, furniture polish, air fresheners, dishwashing detergents, carpet cleaners and pesticides may contain the lethal chemicals that can also cause brain damage when ingested or inhaled.

    Some of the harmful substances listed include naphthalene found in carpet cleaners and pesticides, formaldehyde in air fresheners, phosphates in detergents, lye in oven cleaners which is extremely corrosive, sodium and calcium hypochlorites in swimming pool chlorine tablets that also cause breathing problems.

    Other toxic chemicals found in the various soaps are nitrobenzene, petroleum distillates, perchloroethylene, ammonium hydroxide, p-dichlorobenzene and heavy metals such as zinc, copper and magnesium. 

    An array of cleaning liquid soaps

    "We wish to make Kenyans aware of these household chemicals. Most importantly, there is need to have the ingredients displayed on the packaging," KCS National Secretary Austin Aluoch advised.

    The experts further cautioned Kenyans against mixing some toilet cleaners with washing detergents currently in the market stating that the combination produces a lethal chlorine gas.

    "Inhaling paint fumes can result in headaches, nausea, dizziness and fatigue. Frequent exposure to these chemicals can also cause kidney, liver and blood problems," a report by Cleaveland Clinic researchers outlined.

    Some initial reactions that may indicate exposure to the dangerous chemicals include skin, eye and throat irritation, vomiting, burns on the skin and breathing problems.

    Kenyans have also been advised to use protective gear when handling some of the cleaning solvents and avoid inhaling fumes that may arise when using them.

    In addition, researchers recommended immediate washing of the hands with soap and water after handling the cleaners.

    Cleaning in progress in a Nairobi home