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High Health Hazard. Optical whiteners and brighteners are slow to break down in the environment and cause long term effects on the aquatic environment.
Optical brighteners are synthetic chemicals added to products such as laundry powders, liquid, soakers and other cleaning products to give an illusion of cleaner surfacesii. In laundry powder they adhere to clothesiv and reflect light in the blue spectrum while absorbing UV Light. This makes clothes look whiter and cleaner but really they are just unnecessary ingredients added for aesthetics. Although there is limited evidence available suggesting skin irritation for Optical Brighteners, because they are designed to stick to clothes, they end up being in contact with skin for prolonged periods of time, which can be a cause for concern when considering the effects of these chemicals on skin and possible irritation. Optical brighteners can also end up in waterways, where they are slow to biodegradeiv and can therefore cause long term effects on the aquatic environment. They can also adhere to plants, where their UV absorbing effects can affect pollination by beesvii
ii) Optical brightener - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
iv) Human & Environmental Risk Assessment on ingredients of European household cleaning products Substance: Fluorescent Brightener FWA-1
vii) Effects of Optical Brighteners Used in Bio pesticide Formulations on the Behaviour of Pollinators
|INCI Name||Optical Brighteners|
Learn more on the EWG website