THE HARMFUL EFFECTS OF DETERGENTS
A detergent is anything that cleans. Since the early 60s the sale of synthetic detergents has surpassed the sale of soap detergent. The popularity of synthetic detergent stems primarily from their superior cleaning efficiency, particularly when used in hard water areas. But this synthetic detergent contains phosphate, optical brightness, bleaches and perfumes. The foam produced by these detergents is visible and is aesthetically unacceptable in sewage treatment plants, and in rivers and streams receiving their outflows. As these compounds are able to reduce foam even in very low concentration, aeration of water is not possible, since it tends to increase the amount of foam once again. Hence, the rate of recreation of river water is reduced, along with the efficiency of sewage purification. Moreover, aquatic flora and fauna are destroyed due to foaming. If surface active component of a detergent were not biodegradable, domestic as well as industrial effluents would be very toxic and pose a hazard to the environment.