Surfactants (surfactants) are chemical compounds found in cleaning products. They attach fat molecules to water molecules, and as a result, contaminants are easily removed.
The negative effect of surfactants on the human body
A surfactant molecule is a sphere, one pole of which binds to water molecules (hydrophilic pole) and the other binds to fats (lipophilic). Thus, one end of the surfactant particles are attached to the fat particles, and the other to the water particles. This makes it easy to wash away dirt and grease from the surfaces to be cleaned. There are 4 classes of synthetic surfactants: anionic, amphoteric, nonionic, cationic.
Surfactants have a negative effect on the skin, a significant part of the protective layer of which has a fat base. Lipids prevent various bacteria from entering the body, and surfactants destroy this fatty film. According to the standards of hygiene approved by GOST, after the use of detergents, the protective layer on the skin must be restored by 60% within 4 hours. Not all detergents provide such a result. Dehydrated and dehydrated skin begins to age quickly. Surfactants contained in shampoos, simultaneously with the removal of impurities, can disrupt the structure of the hair, making it unruly, brittle, and dull. These chemical compounds cause itching, scalp irritation, dandruff, and hair loss. Surfactants penetrate the body, they can accumulate in the heart, brain, liver, body fat and continue their negative effect for a long time.
Since detergents are constantly used by humans, there is a constant replenishment of surfactants in the body.
The harmful effects of surfactants on the environment
Sewage treatment plants do not remove surfactants well, as a result, these substances return through the water supply in almost the same concentration in which they are poured into the drain. In this case, the only exceptions are detergents with biodegradable chemical compounds. Surfactants enter water bodies not only with household water, but also with industrial waste water, as well as with runoff from farmland. Since these substances have a low decomposition rate, they cause great harm to nature and living organisms.
At high concentrations of surfactants in water bodies, fish begin to lose their mucous membrane, get sick and die.
Getting into water bodies, surfactants have a great effect on their condition, deteriorating the organoleptic properties of water and oxygen regime. A stable foam appears on the surface of water containing surfactants, it prevents the flow of oxygen. As a result, self-purification processes in natural water basins deteriorate, which causes significant harm to the flora and fauna. Some surfactants accumulated in the water begin to act as fertilizers, as a result, an intensive growth of algae is observed. Plankton also grows actively. As a result, it becomes impossible to use such reservoirs as a source of drinking water.