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Fluorescent whitening agents are actually very safe

Fluorescent whitening agents

Laundry detergents and other detergents are often reported to contain fluorescent whitening agent problems, and even rumors that “fluorescent agent can cause cancer”, which caused a lot of consumer panic. Are these rumors real? Are fluorescent whitening agents unsafe?

What is fluorescence?

In fact, fluorescence is only a physical phenomenon of cold luminescence. After a certain wavelength of incident light (usually ultraviolet or X ray.) is absorbed, a longer wavelength emergent light (usually visible light) is emitted. Once the incident light is stopped, the phenomenon of luminescence will disappear. According to experts, fluorescent substances are ubiquitous in nature, but also exist in a variety of animals, such as many marine organisms, shrimps, crabs, jellyfish, and land fireflies, they can emit light precisely because the body contains a variety of fluorescent proteins. Some fluorescent substances even exist in the human body, such as some amino acids, vitamins A, E and B12, nucleotides, hormones and so on. Many common foods also have fluorescence, such as soy sauce, Pu’er tea, liquor, black tea, coffee and other fermented foods, can produce fluorescence.

Consumers often have a sense of fear about substances that can give off fluorescence and think that they can cause harm to the human body. In fact, fluorescence is not related to toxicity. Because fluorescence is a pure physical phenomenon, no chemical reaction, will not have adverse effects on health. In addition, fluorescent vitamins, proteins, tryptophan, tyrosine and hormones are also essential for the maintenance of life, can be absorbed by the human body. Therefore, there is no relationship between toxicity and fluorescence.

What is fluorescent whitening agent?

Many white fabrics will add fluorescent brighteners in their production process. In KTV, concert and other gorgeous lights, the fluorescence reaction is an example. In addition, many white things around us contain fluorescent whitening agents, such as plastic pipe, copy paper, etc. The so-called fluorescent whitening agent is a kind of organic compound which can absorb ultraviolet light and emit blue or blue-violet light.

It is understood that fluorescent whitening agent has been used for more than 75 years. Fluorescent whitening agent is a kind of functional additives. White clothing in the wearing process, due to various reasons leading to yellowing, whiteness decline, color is no longer bright. Adding fluorescent whitening agent to detergents can make clothes as much as possible to restore the original whiteness and color. Therefore, fluorescent whitening agents are widely used in laundry detergents both at home and abroad.

Is fluorescent whitening agent safe?

Each of us has had close contact with the fluorescent whitening agent in the fabric, and has also used laundry detergents and other products containing fluorescent whitening agent. It is understood that fluorescent brighteners from the beginning of the last century, from the original mainly used in textiles, now mainly used for washing products and other industries, so far there has been no case of illness or personal injury caused by fluorescent agents.

The research results show that fluorescent whiteners have no skin sensitization, phototoxicity, oral toxicity, percutaneous toxicity, reproductive toxicity, mutagenicity and carcinogenicity. Laundry detergents containing fluorescent whitening agents are safe for human and environment.