Assignment Example on Chemical Formulations

Paper Type:  Research paper
Pages:  6
Wordcount:  1440 Words
Date:  2022-05-13

1. Bubble Bandit Automatic Dishwasher

This is a household product that is used for cleaning dishes and contains phosphates. The products are manufactured and distributed by Bandito Products where the company originated in San Diego California. Bandito was part of the Sports Divers company which later split to form 3 separate companies and Bandito was one of them. The product is made up of 8.7% of phosphate, blended with optical brighteners and oil dispersants. The chemical form of the phosphate found in bubble bandit dishwashing detergent is pentasodium triphosphate. In this form, it can be used with synthetic surfactants to enable it to disperse dirt in washing solution (Beek, Bolt & Bruggenwert, 2012, 11). Bubble bandit automatic dishwasher works as a surfactant where it improves the ability of water to spread over surfaces, wet things and help water to hold grease, break it up and finally wash it away.

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2. Cascade Hand Wash

Cascade is another hand wash soap that has phosphates. Cascade company manufactures this hand wash product and some other products. The chemical compounds in the soap include complex sodium phosphates, sodium carbonate, chlorine bleach, sodium silicate, colorant, sodium sulfate and nonionic surfactants. The chemical form of the phosphate that is found in cascade products is sodium tripolyphosphate (STPP). This form enabled the detergent to maintain PH while at the same time suspend insoluble dirt, remove grease and food and inhibit corrosion (Jenkins & Ives, 2013, 69). The product has about 35% of (STPP). Cascade hand wash works as a surfactant where it breaks down the surface tension which holds food particle and grease together. It also improves the ability of water to break over surfaces and ensures oil and other food substances are suspended.

4. How do They Work?

The soaps are surfactants where they work by suspending oils and other and other food residues on the utensils and make it easier to wash them away during rinsing with water. The mechanism through which this works is a chemical process that enables the surface tension that holds the grease and food particles together to be broken down (Beek, Bolt & Bruggenwert, 2012, 11).

5. Environmental Problems with Phosphate Containing Products

Phosphates are responsible for eutrophication of rivers. The nitrogen and phosphorus compounds that are found in detergents get concentrated in rivers. On the contrary, phosphate-containing detergents create algae blooms when they are deposited in fresh water (Jenkins & Ives, 2013, 55). The result is that there is an increase in the growth of algae (aquatic plants) that invades the aquatic area. The decomposition of plants that die consumes oxygen from the aquatic plants. Conversely, oxygen is also consumed from the decomposition of the surfactants which are present in the detergents. Ultimately, fish and other aquatic animals end up not having enough or adequate oxygen and thereby die due to asphyxiation (Jenkins & Ives, 2013, 75). When surfactants are not fully treated in water treatment plants, they end up affecting the natural defense of different microorganisms. Aquatic organisms end up affected regarding their shells, skins, and walls of plants.

Surfactants are chemicals which help reduce the surface tension in water, oil detergents and help utensils and clothing items that are being cleaned get rid of dirt. However, surfactants in detergents affect the aquatic life since they are toxic. According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, when surfactants persist in the environment, they end up breaking down into additional byproducts that are toxic (Jenkins & Ives, 2013, 85). In a freshwater environment, detergents that contain surfactants break down the mucus component that is responsible for coating fish, which protects them from bacteria and other parasites. Furthermore, in humans and other animals, surfactants can disrupt the endocrine system and may also reduce the breeding rate of aquatic organisms.

6. Why are Phosphates Used in Detergents and Soaps?

About 5% of all phosphate that is mined in the world is used in detergents (Boyd, 2015, 245). Pentasodium triphosphate (PSTP) is the chemical form in which phosphorus is used in detergents. One of the most significant features of PSPT in detergent is the ability to form strong and soluble complexes with magnesium and calcium ions. A strong synergism is formed with regards to detergency when there is a combination of synthetic surfactants and PSTP. Another important feature is of PSTP is that it has the ability to disperse when it is in a washing solution (Patwardhan, 2017, 8). PSTP is also characterized by weak alkalinity, toxicological acceptability, and crystalline form when it is dry. Conversely, phosphates have been referred in the chemical industry as an all-purpose cleaner. Phosphates have been used as key ingredients in most of detergents formulations like liquids and free-flowing powders (Thomas, 2013, 17). They are thus considered builders when they are formulated into cleaning products. Also, phosphates provide and control the alkalinity in detergents providing an essential functional property. Having an optimum PH ensures that phosphates can assist in the protection against corrosion, removal of fatty soils, and suspension of soil in water and also helps in preventing any form of redeposition of soils on any surface that is being cleaned (Patwardhan, 2017, 10).

7. Wastewater Treatment Plants, Farms and Fertilizers

Wastewater treatment is the process of converting water which is no longer in use into water that can be discharged back into the environment for use. There are two types of water treatment plants which are physical treatment plant, and biological wastewater treatment plant (Boyd, 2015, 255). Biological matter and bacteria are used in a biological waste treatment plant to break down waste matter. On the contrary, chemical reactions and physical processes are used in physical waste treatment plants to treat wastewater. The most common form of treatment of wastewater is the use of physical wastewater treatment plant as most wastewater from manufacturing firms, industries, and factories contains chemicals and toxins.

Farming operations can also contribute significantly to pollution when not managed properly. Animal manure and fertilizers are both rich in nitrogen and phosphorus which are the primary sources of agricultural nutrient pollution (Boyd, 2015, 245). When it rains, the excess nutrients in farms and fertilizers may be washed into the nearby waters or may even each into ground waters causing pollution. The pollution is caused by the nitrogen and phosphorus contents in those compounds. The fertilized soil may also be the source of ammonia and nitrogen oxides which are nitrogen-based compounds (Boyd, 2015, 245). These compounds are harmful to aquatic life if there are significant amounts deposits on the water surface.

Phosphorus may get into the water when it attaches itself to soil particles and through run-off moves into surface water bodies. Phosphorus might also migrate with groundwater flows. Too much of phosphorus in water might lead to eutrophication speed up (Thomas, 2013, 17). Minerals and organic nutrients in water bodies increase reducing dissolved oxygen content. The introduction of additional phosphates in water results to an increase in algae growth. When there is an excess amount of algae in the water, an effect called algae bloom occurs where there is a reduction of sunlight available to other plants that may result to the death of those plants (Boyd, 2015, 245). In the event the algae dies, dissolved oxygen is used up by the bacteria that breaks them down that results to suffocation of other aquatic life.

8. Do You Use Phosphate Containing Household Products?

Historically phosphorus in the form of phosphates has been used as the main ingredient in detergents. Phosphates served as builders where they tend to improve the cleaning efficiency of detergents (Patwardhan, 2017, 5). They help to minimize soap scum and also remove dirt from clothes. However, the strong cleaning performance of detergents with phosphates has been overshadowed by their negative, harmful effects on lakes, rivers, and other fresh waters. The result is contamination of the water by excess phosphates where some might be coming from detergents that contain phosphates that go down the drain after use (Patwardhan, 2017, 5). These harmful effects have changed my mind on the use of soaps and detergents with phosphates. I have been using household products that contain phosphates, but after reading on the harmful effects of phosphates on the environment, I intend to shift to household products that are phosphate free. The harmful effects of phosphates on the environment have also triggered enactment of laws and regulations that ban the use of phosphates in laundry detergent in many of the states in the USA. These limits will make me find an alternative to using detergents that are free from phosphates.


Beek, J., Bolt, G. H., & Bruggenwert, M. G. M. (2012). Soil chemistry. Amsterdam: ElsevierScientific Pub. Co.

Boyd, C. E. (2015). Water quality: An introduction.

In Jenkins, S. H., & In Ives, K. J. (2013). Phosphorus in fresh water and the marineenvironment.

Patwardhan, A. D. (2017). Industrial Wastewater Treatment. S.L.: Phi Learning.5

Thomas, W. A. (2013). Indicators of Environmental Quality. Boston, MA: Springer US.

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