5 Chemicals You Probably Didn’t Know You Use Every Day

Closeup of toothbrush and toothpaste

Many of the consumer products we use on a daily basis contain chemical ingredients that may seem strange and unfamiliar. Yet some of these chemicals, including those found in cleaning, hygiene and personal care products, are actually very common. In most cases, we are more familiar with a commercial brand rather than a chemical or generic name.

These are the five major chemicals that are often used in the home (read on to learn more about the surprising products they’re often found in):

  1. sodium fluoride
  2. cetylpyridinium chloride
  3. sodium laureth sulfate
  4. monosodium glutamate
  5. sodium nitrate

And of course, if you want to familiarize yourself with chemicals that are contained in the products you use every day, read the label.

household cleaning chemicals

Some household cleaning products are made from a variety of chemicals. Most of them, including drain cleaners, contain caustic active chemicals such as sodium hydroxide, Others contain corrosive or acidic active chemicals such as hydrochloric acidWhile some contain oxidizers as active ingredients such as hydrogen peroxide,

Strong household cleaning products are usually highly toxic. They can be fatal if swallowed and can burn or irritate your skin if in contact. However, there are effective household cleaning agents that have low toxicity levels, such as those containing calcium bicarbonate.

Which 5 chemicals do we use every day?

Want to know more about the chemicals you use every day? From sodium fluoride to monosodium glutamate, here are five common chemicals you may be encountering without even realizing.

  1. sodium fluoride
    Sodium fluoride (NaF) is an inorganic compound commonly found in Toothpaste. Its main purpose is to strengthen the teeth by forming a layer of fluorapatite on the tooth enamel. Fluorapatite is a type of mineral that forms naturally on tooth enamel through biochemical processes. Its chemical formula is Ca. Is5(pow4,3F. Trace amounts of sodium fluoride are also added to municipal water for the same purpose of teeth-strengthening.
  2. closeup of toothbrush and toothpasteHowever, too much fluoride can have the opposite effect and weaken tooth enamel, which can lead to decay. It can also cause tooth discoloration, which can cause teeth to turn yellow or brown. Too much fluoride in tap water has been linked to other medical problems such as skeletal weakness (osteoporosis), acne and high blood pressure. It can also trigger seizures.
  3. cetylpyridinium chloride
    cetylpyridinium chlorideWhose chemical formula is C. Is21h38ClN is one of the antimicrobial ingredients found in mouthwash. Its antiseptic properties are useful in treating minor infections of the mouth and throat. Many lozenges also contain cetylpyridinium chloride. When in an aqueous solution, N-hexadesylpyridinium acts as the cation or positively-charged ion and as the chloride ion or negatively-charged ion. The chemical penetrates and weakens the cell membranes of a large range of bacteria. This action kills the bacteria and hinders their ability to reproduce.
  4. sodium laureth sulfate
    sodium laureth sulfate (SLES) is an organic compound with the chemical formula CH. Is3(CH)2,10Chieftain2(OCH2Chieftain2,noso3No. A common ingredient in shampoos, it acts as the primary surfactant for lathering and cleansing.
  5. Close up of man washing his hair with shampooSLES has a chain structure with sodium as the cation and the rest of the molecule as an anion. It is a very effective foaming agent when dissolved in water. SLES also acts as an emulsifier in various cosmetic products. It is also a common ingredient in herbs, which helps to improve the absorption of the product on the surface of the plant.
  6. monosodium glutamate
    monosodium glutamate (MSG) is an organic compound with the chemical formula C₅H₈NO₄Na. It is found in many dishes and almost all processed foods, especially fast food such as burgers, chips and fries. MSG is also added to food as a flavoring agent, creating the unique ‘umami’ taste. Umami is considered a fifth type of taste, along with bitter, sour, sweet and salty. It is a Japanese (Nihongo) word meaning ‘essence of delicacy’. Although some people believe that MSG can cause medical problems such as chest pain and nausea, several studies have found no connection to the so-called MSG symptom complex.
  7. sodium nitrate
    Sodium nitrate is a common food preservative with the chemical formula NaNO3. It is used as a preservative for hotdogs, sausages, bacon, deli meats and jerky. Many packaged food products also contain this preservative. Sodium nitrate has been linked to a number of medical problems, including heart disease and diabetes.

Dangerous chemicals in household products

The most dangerous chemicals in household products are those found in cleaning agents, such as laundry bleach, drain unblockers and toilet cleaners.

A bowl of toilet cleaning supplies near the toilet bowl in a modern bathroom.They contain corrosive, caustic and oxidizing active ingredients. These products are also toxic when ingested and can damage the skin upon contact.

Many other seemingly innocuous household products are also toxic and flammable. Ironically, many of the so-called ‘air freshener’ products may actually contain pollutants because they may contain formaldehydeA strong irritant that is potentially carcinogenic.

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