5 Chemicals Businesses Should Avoid

Being an environmentally friendly business means more than just recycling and reusing materials. It also means that the substances used in products and services must be considered and the exposure to harmful chemicals should be minimized to protect customers and employees. At Workplace Essentials, there are several chemicals we never use in our products. Here are five chemicals we avoid:

Cocamide DEA/MEA

Found In: Often used as an emulsifier in cleaning products, soap, and shampoo.

Why it’s Harmful: DEA/MEA are classified as ethanolamines, which can break down into nitrogen and form cancerous nitrosamines. According to the International Agency for Research on Cancer, there are 15 different nitrosamines that are considered carcinogenic to people. Studies conducted on animals have found that nitrosamines caused cancers in the liver and nasal cavity. Bioaccumulation is also associated with DEA, as 52-68% of it stays on the upper layers of skin after use.


Found In: This is a typical ingredient in consumer products that are labeled as being “antibacterial,” which include soap and body wash.

Why it’s Harmful: There is a risk of decreased thyroid levels and possibly an increased risk of skin cancer for individuals. Triclosan may also encourage the development of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Due to the potential harm it causes and its lack of benefits, the FDA has banned it from consumer soaps. By September 2017, manufacturers must have this ingredient completely removed.


Found In: Cleaning products

Why it’s Harmful: The smell of ammonia is noticeable when it is concentrated at 50 PPM in the air.   This does not usually bother people; however, those who have asthma or other sensitivities may be irritated. As the concentration in the air increases, individuals will notice a burning sensation in their noses, throats, and respiratory tract. The liquid form, depending on its concentration, can cause burns, open sores, and severe eye exposure can cause blindness.

Sodium Hydroxide

Found In: It has a variety of uses in manufacturing, such as in making paper and soap. Sodium hydroxide is also a typical ingredient in commercial drain cleaners.

Why it’s Harmful: It is corrosive as a solid and liquid. Skin and eye contact results in burns, redness, and more severe consequences depending on how much exposure occurred. Inhalation causes the mucus membranes to become irritated and can cause lung inflammation.

Hydrochloric Acid

Found In: Toilet bowl cleaners

Why it’s Harmful: It is a corrosive substance that causes burns to skin and in severe cases of eye exposure, can cause blindness.   Inhaling enough of it results in irritation and inflammation of the nose, throat, and respiratory tract. It is harmful to pipes as well, because it can be too strong of a cleaner by stripping the pipe as it removes buildup and clogs.

All of these side effects occur from short-term contact; however, consistent exposure may result in more intense, long-term consequences. Workplace Essentials has taken the time to ensure that products and services are safe and do not use harsh chemicals that could harm users or the environment.

Delivering the green in hygiene!

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