THE CASE AGAINST SURFACTANTS
Many people are concerned about the increase in chemicals we
have discovered and put on the market in the last 50 years or
so. These chemicals have found their way
into many common household items.
One of the groups of chemicals people are concerned about is
surfactants. Surfactants are a detergent widely used to clean
surfaces of both water based and oil based soils.
In 1970 we began to phase out phosphates from
dishwasher and laundry cleaning solutions.
The reason we were given was to prevent environmental
damage. This was questionable as the
largest users of phosphate is farmers and their use of
phosphates has not changed. In addition much of
the phosphate used in residents winds up in wastewater
treatment plants where it can easily be removed.
In any case the use of phosphates has been replaced by
surfactants which are very good cleaning
solutions. Surfactants are even used
as a food additives.
Perhaps it is coincidence that when phosphate were phased out
of our homes an increase in Alzheimer's began to
appear. From 1970 on the rate of Alzheimer's disease has
doubled every 10 years with woman accounting for twice as many cases
Alzheimers affects the brain. Our bodies try to protect
the brain from toxic materials by a blood brain
barrier. This barrier keeps water soluble
toxic materials from the brain while allowing oil soluble materials
to pass through.
The interesting thing is when physicians need to introduce a
chemical into the brain they need to overcome this blood brain
barrier. This is where surfactants come into
play. They are added to medications because they
overcome the blood brain and allow chemicals pass into the
This in itself is a good thing but it does seem to warn us as about
the power of surfactants. Perhaps we should use
then with a due amount of caution but we do not.
Not only do we use surfactants in laundry detergents as well
as dishwasher detergents but we even classify them as food
additives. One example is Hood Ice cream which
lists Polysorbate 80 ( a surfactant) as an
All this leads me to question if Alzheimer's is really a brain
disease. Is it possible that Alzheimer's results
from deterioration of the blood brain barrier and this deterioration
allows toxic materials into the brain.
It may be that it is the over use of surfactants that is destroying
our blood brain barrier and this leads to Alzheimer's.
It is interesting that women with their higher incidence of
Alzheimer's are exposed to more surfactants than men
are. And then the fact that this disease has been
increasing since the 70's seems to indicate it is due to some
type of new material introduced into our
environment. All this makes surfactants suspect.
links to phospate based detergents.