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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(2), 1351-1367;

An Approach for Prioritizing “Down-the-Drain” Chemicals Used in the Household

Institute of Environment, Health and Societies, Brunel University London, Uxbridge UB8 3PH, UK
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Satinder Kaur Brar
Received: 26 November 2014 / Accepted: 21 January 2015 / Published: 26 January 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Emerging Contaminants in the Environment)
Full-Text   |   PDF [786 KB, uploaded 26 January 2015]   |  


Many chemicals are present in cleaning and personal care products, which after use are washed down the drain and find their way into water bodies, where they may impact the environment. This study surveyed individuals to determine what products were used most in the home, in an attempt to prioritize which compounds may be of most concern. The survey resulted in the identification of 14 categories of products consisting of 315 specific brands. The survey estimated that individuals each discharge almost 33 L of products per year down the drain. Dishwashing liquids and hand wash gels, which accounted for 40% of this volume, were selected for identification of specific ingredients. Ingredients were classified as surfactants, preservatives, fragrances or miscellaneous, with hand wash gels having a wider range of ingredients than dishwashing liquids. A review of the literature suggested that preservatives, which are designed to be toxic, and fragrances, where data on toxicity are limited, should be prioritized. The approach undertaken has successfully estimated use and provisionally identified some classes of chemicals which may be of most concern when used in cleaning and personal care products. View Full-Text
Keywords: emerging; contaminant; environment; water; quality; domestic; discharge emerging; contaminant; environment; water; quality; domestic; discharge

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Rotsidou, M.; Scrimshaw, M.D. An Approach for Prioritizing “Down-the-Drain” Chemicals Used in the Household. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12, 1351-1367.

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