[NAFEX] ? for Doc about surfactants

Stephen Sadler Docshiva at Docshiva.org
Fri Apr 15 19:04:03 EDT 2005


I know I'm not the doc you asked, but here's a bit more on the subject:

 

A surfactant (short for SURFace ACTive AgeNT) is a chemical which will
reduce the surface tension of a liquid.  The molecules generally have a
hydrophilic - or water-attracting end, and a lipophilic, or fat-attracting
end.  Soap is a surfactant, and the dual-philic molecule is what makes
greases and oils 'dissolve' in water; the surface between the two normally
non-mixing fluids dissolves, as each type of molecule is attracted to the
soap.  Egg yolks contain the surfactant lecithin, and detergents use
surfactant molecules to help mix greasy stains into the wash water so they
can be rinsed away.  Many plants (mustard, soapwort, soy) make surfactants,
and some of the chemicals that animal bodies make have those properties.
There is nothing inherently harmful in the group of compounds.  Some
surfactants (wetting agents are surfactants) will penetrate plant or animal
skins, and can carry other chemicals with them; or just carry themselves.
Insecticidal soap can invade soft-bodied insects and introduce a large
amount of itself into their systems, in quantities that are deadly to the
wee beasties.  

 

The potential environmental problems are due to the type, amount, specific
lethality, and biodegradability of surfactants released into the
environment.  If you choose an organic alternative to Roundup, it may still
contain a surfactant, which is fine.  The one(s) in Roundup seems to be very
harmful to amphibians.  

 

I will now wash my hands of the matter - safely, with no environmental
concerns, with a nicely surfactant organic artisan-made soap.

 

Stephen Sadler, Ph.D.

USDA 9, AHS heat zone 8, 

Sacramento CA - Mediterranean climate

  _____  

From: nafex-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org
[mailto:nafex-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org] On Behalf Of Charles Paradise
Sent: Friday, April 15, 2005 2:48 PM
To: North American Fruit Explorers
Subject: [NAFEX] ? for Doc about surfactants

 

I have always suspected  that surfactants/detergents/wetting agents/surface 
tension depressants/emulsifiers inadvertently left on eating implements,
dishes and cookware are involved somehow in causing coronary artery disease 
in humans.  They are powerful reagents and just don't belong in a living
organism; except for those that the organism's body makes for a specific 
purpose. 
Doc Lisenby 
 

Doc, 
Does soap [e.g. Jergen's hand soap] have surfactants on it?  If it doesn't,
this is another reason to use soap - in this cases - to wash dishes - which
is what I wash them with - never detergent. 
Charlie Paradise 

Doc Lisenby wrote: 

It is common practice to check fish ponds here in the South to insure that 
the pH isn't too low.  I add tons of lime to my 3 acre pond every few years.

It takes a lot of lime to show any appreciable rise in pH and some people 
says it is an exercise in futility. 
I hear only one or two bullfrogs (Rana catesbelana)every year.  Fifty years 
ago we could harvest enough for a meal.   Nowadays, frog gigs, a commonly 
sold hardware/sporting good store item, are hard to find. 
I have always suspected  that surfactants/detergents/wetting agents/surface 
tension depressants/emulsifiers inadvertently left on eating implements, 
dishes and cookware are involved somehow in causing coronary artery disease 
in humans.  They are powerful reagents and just don't belong in a living 
organism; except for those that the organism's body makes for a specific 
purpose. 
Doc Lisenby 

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