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December 4, 1972

Detergent Hazards

Author Affiliations

Primos, Pa

JAMA. 1972;222(10):1310. doi:10.1001/jama.1972.03210100058028

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To the Editor.—  In the Aug 28, 1972, issue of The Journal, Drs. Feldman, Rail, and Moore reported studies of detergent effects on the rabbit eye. Since detergent phosphate is quite innocuous compared to more alkaline detergency builders, a concern has arisen that legal restrictions on the use of phosphate would result in more hazardous household detergents. Studies such as the one reported by the authors from the National Institutes of Health are being undertaken in order to demonstrate such effects and to substantiate public warning statements by the Surgeon General and other health officials.On more thorough examination of safety aspects, the household detergent issue is not that simple. The authors assert that household laundry and dishwasher detergents fall into three general categories, namely, those containing principally either phosphate, carbonate, or metasilicate. Had they provided the chemical analyses of their detergent materials, this premise could be seen to lack