In modern history, the development and widespread availability of hygienic methods, such as the use of cleansing agents or detergents and water, has significantly enhanced both social and economic progress. During the 20th century, the consumption of soap rose markedly so that by the year 1935 about 2.6 billion pounds were sold in the United States.1 Prior to World War II, synthetic detergents for household use made their debut, and with them a new era in personal and household hygiene began. For the housewife their introduction made possible more efficient washing of clothes, dishes, and interior surfaces. For persons whose skin could not tolerate the use of soaps, mild effective synthetics were a fortunate substitute. In 1954 the total soap and detergent consumption soared to an estimated 4.5 billion pounds. In that year it was also estimated that over 75% of the packaged household detergents were of the synthetic
Suskind RR. CUTANEOUS EFFECTS OF SOAPS AND SYNTHETIC DETERGENTS. JAMA. 1957;163(11):943–946. doi:10.1001/jama.1957.82970460006010
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