Quneex, is a bleaching liquid that is being utilized to clean white clothes and to make them stainless as well as to kill germs that produce bad smell. Its ingredients include water, caustic soda (NaOH) and chlorine. NaOH is one of the strongest alkalis and is highly reactive. Vapors are highly toxic when it dissolves in water with emission of enormous amount of heat. NaOH together in combination with chlorine forms sodium hypochlorite (NaOCl), which is the active ingredient of Quneex.
NaOCl is often used in hospitals as a disinfecting agent to cope with infection due to pathogenic bacteria even though its effectiveness is low as compared to chlorhexidine1. In plant industry, NaOCl is being utilized as a disinfectant but ultimately; it affects seed germination and growth of plants. It was shown that diluted bleach baths with NaOCl reduce the density of Staphylococcus aureus which ultimately controlled the severity of atopic dermatitis (eczema). Conversely; some patients showed intolerance to the NaOCl baths2.
Researchers have found NaOCl effective for sterilization of medium, required for plant growth; at 0.002% chlorine concentration; which is cost-effective3. In addition, in case of sugar cane, NaOCl at concentration of 0.2% controlled microbial contamination, but the survival and growth of shoots were affected adversely4. On the other hand, drawbacks and negative impacts of NaOCl have also been reported in agricultural field5.
Hussah I. Algwaiz performed an experiment to evaluate the cytological outcomes of Quneex on the tissues and DNA of plants by utilizing the Allium cepa assay. Sixteen root meristems of A. cepa were exposed to various concentrations of the bleaching agent (0.1, 0.2, 0.3, 0.4 and 0.5%) at time intervals of 6, 12 and 24 hours. Recovery was done for 6, 12 and 24 hours after exposure.
It was observed that process of mitosis (cell division) in onion, considerably decelerated with time. Moreover, mitotic index also decreased with further addition of the bleaching agent. Abnormal chromosomal changes reflecting mutagenesis including stickiness, laggards, bridges, C-metaphase, star-metaphase, binucleation, polyploidy, disturbance and multinucleation were also observed in the different concentrations and time periods. After recovery, sluggish increment in the cell division was observed. Amount of DNA was reduced significantly with or without recovery for 12 and 24 h. Scientist concluded that bleaching agents including Quneex consists of sodium hypochlorite (have mutagenic properties). These agents are unsafe and can leave dangerous as well as poisonous impacts on the environment and humans. Therefore, it’s the need of hour to control the use and disposal of such hazardous chemicals into the environment, to prevent contamination of water, plants and aquatic life.
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17 November, 2019