Saturday, March 3, 2012

Airing the Dryer Sheet's Dirty Laundry

I used to love, love L.O.V.E. love the smell of freshly laundered clothes, especially when I coordinated the delicious scented smells of detergent, fabric softener and dryer sheets together. It was like heaven in my clothes. 

But, then I learned about all the chemicals and ingredients that go into those beautiful scents ... and the potential health hazards they create.

Just a few....
Benzyl acetate .... pancreatic cancer
Limonene .... known carcinogen (can cause cancer)
A-Terpineol .... respiratory and nervous system problems
Ethyl Acetate .... a narcotic on the EPA's hazardous waste list
Camphor .... central nervous system disorders
Chloroform .... neurotoxin (harms the brain) and carcinogen

Now, many people, including the folks who run the companies that create laundry products claim that the amounts of the above ingredients in any single product are so small that they won't cause damage, or in scientific terms, they're "generally regarded as safe."

Their statements to that effect are absolutely, 100% true. However, what they won't tell you about is what many in the holistic community term the "compounding effect" of layering multiple products. In my case, when I used detergent, fabric softener and a dryer sheet, each single product may have had camphor in small amounts that were safe, but if I used all three (which I always did), then I got THREE TIMES the amount generally regarded as safe. So, the impact on my body was compounded by a factor of three.

What can you do? Make smart choices and vote with your dollars. Every time you choose a safer, less-chemical-full laundry product, you're sending a message to the folks who make the ones filled with nasty chemicals. You're telling them that product safety and your family's health is important to you.

My favorite laundry detergent brands are Seventh Generation and Mrs. Meyer's. I've tried most of the products from each brand and I've found them to be very effective, but also very safe. My proof? Neither irritate my son's sensitive skin like conventional detergents do, yet they still take the stains out of his 3-year-old, active little boy clothes.

I use 1/4 cup of distilled white vinegar in the wash water, which has the same softening and static-reducing capabilities as fabric softener and dryer sheets.

Remember, taking little steps like detoxifying your laundry room can add up to a big difference in your health ... and your family's!

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