From today's Washington Post: Use of potentially harmful chemicals kept secret under law
The chemicals I would like to know about are the ones in shower cleaners and, with my latest bottle, Formula 409. I am not particularly sensitive to chemicals, but these really make it hard for me to breathe and have to be bad for the lungs, particularly since they are used as aerosol sprays.
The ingredient labels are highly uninformative. A bottle of Lysol with bleach gives "active ingredient" as sodium hypochlorite, 2%, and "other ingredients" as 98%. Formula 409 gives "active ingredient" as alkyl (C12-40% C14-50% C16-10%) dimethyl benzyl ammonium chloride, 0.3%, and "other ingredients" as 99.7%. The information has decreased since I last read labels.
Sodium hypochlorite is bleach and the organic ammonium chlorides are cationic detergents.
I recall a label that listed "organic acids," which would make some sense for removing soap scum, but those organic acids would not necessarily be compatible with bleach or cationic detergents. Still, the pungent smell is chokingly the same. I don't recognize it, and I know quite a few chemicals by smell.