Dettol

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Dettol
Dettol Logo.jpg
Owner Reckitt Benckiser
Country United Kingdom
Previous owners SSL International
Website Dettol

Dettol is the trade name for a line of hygiene products manufactured by Reckitt Benckiser. It has been in use since before the 1950s.

Composition and chemistry[edit]

The original Dettol liquid antiseptic and disinfectant is light yellow in colour in the concentrated form but, as several of the ingredients are insoluble in water, it produces a milky emulsion of oil droplets when diluted with water, exhibiting the ouzo effect.

The active ingredient in Dettol that confers its antiseptic property is chloroxylenol (C8H9ClO), an aromatic chemical compound. Chloroxylenol comprises 4.8% of Dettol's total admixture,[1] with the rest made up by pine oil, isopropanol, castor oil, soap and water.

Usage[edit]

When diluted, Dettol may be used to clean cuts, wounds, etc. and to disinfect environmental surfaces such as household floors and the walls of slaughterhouses etc.

Controversial usage[edit]

In Australia, Dettol spray has been shown to be lethal to cane toads, an invasive species that was introduced from Hawaii, as a result of bad judgment, in 1935. It had been hoped that the amphibian would control the cane beetle but it became highly destructive within the ecosystem. Spraying the disinfectant at close range has been shown to cause rapid death to toads. It is not known whether the toxins are persistent or whether they harm other Australian flora and fauna.

Owing to concerns over potential harm to other Australian wildlife species, the use of Dettol as an agent for pest control was banned in Western Australia by the Department of Environment and Conservation in 2011.[2]

Toxicity[edit]

Humans[edit]

As with other manufactured household cleaners, Dettol has the potential for causing lethal toxicity. It is poisonous when ingested and even when it is unintentionally inhaled.

In a case report, a 42-year-old British man died from Dettol overexposure in May 2007. The autopsy was not able to conclude whether the lethal exposure to Dettol was via ingestion or inhalation.[3]

Animals[edit]

Dettol is toxic to many animals, especially cats.[4] Dettol contains phenols. Phenols are of particular concern because cats are unable to eliminate the toxins following ingestion. A cat may swallow the product by licking his paws after they have come into contact with it.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Product Safety Data Sheet". Reckitt Benkiser. 23 June 2006. Retrieved 2 February 2013 This Link appears broken, 2014-07-21. 
  2. ^ Narelle Towie (May 23, 2009). "Cane toad poison banned". Perth Now. Retrieved 2 February 2013. 
  3. ^ Lester Haines (29 May 2007). "'Dettol Man' cleans himself to death". The Register. Retrieved 2 February 2013. 
  4. ^ http://www.fabcats.org/owners/poisons/article.html

External links[edit]