NEW YORK — It’s not as simple as switching to a detergent, says a consumer watchdog group.
Instead, it’s to wash your hands in hot, soapy water.
The Associated Press is not naming the companies that make or sell the products because they do not disclose their ingredients.
The AP obtained a copy of the ingredients labels for the detergent “Water” and the “Aqua” brands.
It says that the products contain “chlorine, chlorine, chlorine dioxide, carbon dioxide, ammonia, propylene glycol, formaldehyde, methyl cellulose, sodium lauryl sulfate, sodium carbonate, silicon dioxide, potassium hydroxide, sodium hydroxite, hydrogenated vegetable oil, formic acid, triclosan, and/or sulfates.”
Detergent, which can be used as a hand sanitizer, also contains chlorine dioxide.
A 2009 report by the American Academy of Pediatrics said that if the level of chlorine in a product is above the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency standard of 0.5 parts per million, then the product can cause breathing problems.
Detergents also contain sodium laustra, which is commonly found in dishwashers.
It is used to prevent bacteria from growing on surfaces.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says it can cause skin irritation and can lead to skin cancer.
It also contains formaldehyde and propylene oxide, both of which are known carcinogens.
The American Beverage Association says it uses the label to alert consumers about products that are potentially hazardous.
“It’s important that people understand that a lot of these products contain a number of ingredients that are known to be carcinogens, particularly the sodium laurera,” says Julie A. Gelser, a spokeswoman for the association.
The association also said in a statement that its guidelines are meant to inform consumers about the safety of the products.
Some consumer groups say that the labels have led to confusion and are discouraging consumers from washing their hands.
In a statement, the American Beverages Association said, “Deterguents are not a substitute for washing hands regularly and often have adverse health impacts when used improperly.”
The American Academy for Food and Nutrition says that most detergent is made from vegetable oils and is not a health hazard.
The organization says that many products on the market do not contain sodium laurate, a common ingredient in detergent.
But the group said that when the laurates are removed, there is “a lot of residual chlorine” in the product.
“The association does not believe the safety and effectiveness of detergents is an issue when used properly, but we recognize that some people may be concerned about the chemical makeup of the detergent or the health risks associated with it,” says a statement from the group.
A report by Consumers Union found that in some states, many detergens contain sodium phosphate, a chemical found in certain plastics and in some paint.
It can be harmful if used improperly.
The chemical can cause cancer.
The association also says that there are “no reliable data to support the safety claims of the various products marketed as ‘hand sanitizers’ or ‘body lotions.'”
Some products contain formaldehyde.
A 2010 report by Consumer Reports found that formaldehyde can cause respiratory irritation and skin irritation.
A spokeswoman for A&B said the company uses the labels to alert its customers to the safety risks of its products.
The company also says its products are designed to help keep the environment clean.
The AP is not identifying the companies.