A new study has revealed that the most common soaps, shampoos and detergents do not harm the environment.
Senior researcher Hans Sanderson, Department of Environmental Science, Aarhus University, said that humans use several million tons of surfactants a year on a global scale, which amounts to billions of kilos, so these are substances that one really doesn't want to release into the environment unless they're thoroughly familiar with them.
The researchers analysed their findings regarding the use, disposal, treatment and risk to the aquatic environment of the most important surfactant ingredients in North America and found that when the substances are used correctly and responsibly, and once they have been through a proper treatment plant, the risk to the surrounding environment is very low.
Hans Sanderson said that the substances are made so that they degrade rapidly and thus don't pose a risk to the environment. I can't think of any other substances released into the environment in such large amounts via everyday use by all of us. It's the most commonly used substances of all that go directly into the wastewater, so it's important to keep track of them and ensure that there are no unpleasant surprises in the treatment plants or in the environment.
The study was published in the scientific journal Critical Reviews in Environmental Science.