LifestyleUnrolling the hidden dangers. What's really in your toilet paper and why it matters

Unrolling the hidden dangers. What's really in your toilet paper and why it matters

Bleached toilet paper can be harmful.
Bleached toilet paper can be harmful.
Images source: © Adobe Stock
9:48 AM EST, December 14, 2023

It's an essential hygiene product that has become so commonplace, we often take it for granted during daily use - which is regrettable.

Like any other product available in the market, toilet paper should list its ingredients on its packaging, which can vary significantly. It's worth paying attention to them, particularly for one harmful substance.

Choosing the right toilet paper: one ingredient is crucial

When buying toilet paper, our decision is usually based on its softness, texture, and whiteness. However, these factors may not be enough. Opting for such a paper could be a serious mistake, potentially affecting our health.

The white color of toilet paper is not natural. It is achieved by using strong chemicals. One of them is the potentially harmful formaldehyde. This compound is routinely used in construction, paper production, the textile industry, and plastics manufacturing, despite the risks.

High concentration of formaldehyde is dangerous: be cautious

Formaldehyde (formic aldehyde) is a severe chemical compound with potent bactericidal properties. It can irritate the respiratory system, potentially leading to asthma and the olfactory and visual organs. It can significantly weaken the immune system and impact the nervous system and fertility.

The World Health Organization alerts that high concentrations of formaldehyde can harm humans. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classifies this compound as carcinogenic. It may be hidden in the product's composition under various names: formalin, methanal, methyl aldehyde, methylene oxide, morbid acid, and oxymethylene.

Toilet paper use: intriguing statistics from across the globe

Typically, a roll of toilet paper contains about 200 sheets, depending on the size and thickness of the sheets—ranging from one to five layers. On average, a roll lasts an individual for about three days. However, recent studies by the German Association for Personal Care and Detergents reveal that consumption varies significantly among countries.

The highest annual per capita consumption of toilet paper is seen in the USA (a staggering 141 rolls), while Spain consumes the least (only 32 rolls).

Considering our close and frequent contact with this product, it's crucial to ensure it doesn't harm us. Always pay attention to the product's composition, make considered choices, and thereby maintain a healthier, longer life.

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