Dettol On Crack

 It seems like Dettol has been around since Adam was a boy – in Australia and the UK anyway. Looking at the company site, it doesn’t appear to be a brand in the USA.
Anyway, it’s a very popular antiseptic over here, with a relatively simple list of ingredients. It’s one of those “less is more” products. Probably the only ingredient of concern is Chloroxylenol; which is highly toxic to freshwater fish and moderately toxic to aquatic invertebrates. Used correctly, risks to these two groups are minimal.
Dettol (the original product) has been performing a task and performing it well for decades – an antiseptic useful for treating cuts and scratches. 
The line started to be crossed in recent years with the push to get us all to use anti-bacterial soaps for regular hand washing, which in my view is overkill and creates additional challenges for the environment.
.. but now the brand, in my books anyway, has just been totally ruined. 
I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw an ad on TV the other night for Dettol’s No Touch handwash system. I really thought I had walked halfway into a comedy skit, but my smile rapidly turned to a grimace when it turned out the product actually existed.
“It automatically senses the hands and dispenses just the right amount of soap.”
The web site also says, “you and your family will no longer come into contact with the germs on your soap pump. It’s ideal for use in the kitchen and bathroom.”
My goodness. With a refillable hand pump system, you are getting a measured dose and by pouring it onto your hands and then washing them, you’re killing any of those terribly nasty bacteria we all seem so paranoid about these days that might be hanging around on the pump.
In addition to a product we sometimes use too much of, we’re now encouraged to bundle it with more plastic, electronics and batteries – just to put a bit of liquid on our hands! I have no idea how long these whizz-bang dispensers will last, but ultimately there will be thousands, maybe tens of thousands of these, winding up in landfill.
Not content to just target the bathroom, they are also hawking a “stainless steel” look model for use in the kitchen.
In my opinion, this product is right up there with automatic fly sprays and single-use toothbrushes; which unfortunately are still on the market. It’s another product that is not just environmentally unfriendly, but creates a “need” instead of addressing one.
I can’t direct all my blame at the company though. These products are expensive to develop, so consumer research is usually carried out to gauge reaction to proposed “innovations”. Some folks obviously thought this was a good idea – however, I wonder if environmental issues were pointed out to any focus groups they ran.
Shame on Reckitt Benckiser (the company that owns the Dettol brand) and shame on us.