Phenols in soap and detergents

This is common in US main stream consumer goods. This is not legal in the EU or Canada. The US does not require the label to include these ingredients.

Phenol is highly corrosive to the skin and readily absorbed through it, whereupon it can affect the central nervous system and cause damage to the liver and kidneys . It is also a mutagen, and there is some evidence that phenol may be a reproductive hazard.

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Phenol itself is rarely used consumer products. Phenol formaldehyde resins are used in marine plywood as the adhesive to glue it together. Or in plastics like Bakelite.

Consumer products have used nonionic surfactants. They are ethoxylates of alkyl phenol. Usually nonyl or octyl phenols. These products are thought to have mild estrogenic properties. Still used in industrial cleaners but mostly replaced by alcohol ethoxylates.

I think this is non issue. Misunderstanding of chemical names. Similar names; different products.

Years ago some products like Lysol may have contained phenols.


Phenol | Definition, Structure, Uses, & Facts | Britannica

Phenols are widely used in household products and as intermediates for industrial synthesis. For example, phenol itself is used (in low concentrations) as a disinfectant in household cleaners and in mouthwash. Phenol may have been the first surgical antiseptic. In 1865 the British surgeon Joseph Lister used phenol as an antiseptic to sterilize his operating field. With phenol used in this manner, the mortality rate from surgical amputations fell from 45 to 15 percent in Lister’s ward. Phenol is quite toxic, however, and concentrated solutions cause severe but painless burns of the skin and mucous membranes.

There’s so many strange chemicals in household products that I wonder whenever I meet someone who has psoriasis if these harsh chemicals could be causing it…doc


Yep, what a good many folk also don’t realise is that oftentimes the ingredient list of chemicals that are so off-putting only exist in that form in the jar on the shelf before they’re added to the mix.

Take soap, for example…I mean gen-U-ine soap, as opposed to a detergent bar. The stuff that consists of saponified fats/oils. Would anyone in their right mind put lye on their skin voluntarily? Yet that’s an ingredient in soap. Some manufacturers (and artisan crafters) use “saponified” to avoid articulating the word “lye” because folk without a background in chemistry will be afeard of the stuff. It’s the use of a caustic chemical to achieve an end product…but with none remaining as is in said product.

Then there’s the concept of “the dose makes the poison”

Remember the days when your eyes would burn if shampoo ran in your eyes. That’s sodium lauryl ether sulfate. Its a high foam surfactant. Many surfactants are eye irritants.

But after years of research we now have no more tears baby shampoos. Those are made with mild amphoteric surfactants. Progress,

Materials used in consumer products these days are well tested. Mistakes are made. And there is always it may be safe as generally used but when tested under certain conditions or a new test there’s a problem. The industry constantly responds to those issues and tries to get it right.

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And notice that hand dish detergent is very different from laundry detergent–even though both do similar jobs. One is intended for contact with humans and the other isn’t. It matters.

If you use laundry detergent for scrubbing say a floor, wearing gloves is a good idea.

If you want to know more about what is in a product look up the SDS on it. They are available for all products.

Oh most definitely are and up to one half of the recurring skin cancer rate. Sun is only one factor in skin cancer.

The original skin cancer is soot wart, cancer of the scr@tum, discovered in the chimney sweeps of London. The cause is PNAs (polynuclear aromatics) that occur in smoke. Not usually found in consumer products but in the environment. And sometimes found in some oil refinery streams. Ink oils used in newspaper inks require special treatment to avoid this problem.

I am talking basal cell and squema and melanoma.

Paul there are experts who believe the commercial brands of soap in the US use phenols. Those folks are not lying. The US law allows the use of phenols and the right for producers to not list the ingredients. I believe from a few years ago that is because each chemical is under 1% of the soap.