Today I did. Dramatically and immediately. My neck and chest are still covered in red itchy hives. I had run out of our usual Ecover detergent and grabbed an old bottle of Dawn that was shoved deep in the far recesses of the kitchen cupboard. The reason we purchase the eco friendly soap is because the smell alone of most super market dish soaps gives me a terrible headache. I only needed to wash several dusty vases and hadn’t yet gone to the store this morning. I thought, what the heck, I could stand the sickly sweet odor of Dawn for a few vases. Within three minutes of washing the vases, I felt as though millions of itchy pins and needles were piercing my chest, neck, ears, and face–all areas that had been exposed to the steamy suds.
I jumped in the shower, which only helped a bit and have been putting ice on intermittently. After googling, this is what I have learned about Proctor and Gamble’s Dawn, which is one of the most toxic household products in our homes. Dawn contains Quaternium-15, which is a formaldehyde releaser*, and may cause severe dermatitis. Quaternium-15 can break down in the bottle or on the skin to release formaldehyde and its carcinogenicity is broadly accepted.
Dawn’s antibacterial dish soap label deceptively features baby seals and ducklings and the words, “1 Bottle = $1 Dollar to Save Wildlife.” Dawn donates soap to help clean up animals after oil spills, but the product itself contains the ingredient Triclosan, which is an antibacterial agent known to be harmful to animals. Triclosan has been officially declared to be toxic to aquatic life.
Have you had an allergic reaction to Dawn, or any hand dish washing soap for that matter? Please write and share your experiences with household cleaners. Thank you!
*Note: A formaldehyde releaser is a chemical compound that slowly releases formaldehyde.