I used to LOVE the smell of DOWNEY. I looked forward to “clean sheets Friday”. But then I learned some unsettling news: Most commercial dryer sheets and fabric softeners are loaded with all sorts of toxic chemicals including Benzyl Acetate, Benzyl Alcohol, Chloroform and Linalool; none of which are good for your health. In addition to all the chemicals that end up on your skin, when heated, the fumes are also toxic. These toxins go straight to their brain’s most sensitive neurological centers and wreck havoc.
In a recent study performed by UW professor Dr. Anne Steinemann, a research team conducted a small study to understand the effects of fragrances in laundry products (both detergent and dryer sheets). The team discovered more than 25 VOCs emitted from dryer vents, with highest concentrations of acetaldehyde, acetone, and ethanol (two of which are considered carcinogenic). To put it in context, one of the carcinogenic VOC’s, acetaldehyde, had emissions that would represent 3% of total acetaldehyde emissions from automobiles in the study area. This is a major omission of toxic chemicals.
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and industry-generated Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) from the 1990s, the following is a list of chemicals in fabric softener products, most in untested combinations.
1. Alpha-Terpineol–This chemical has been linked to disorders of the brain and nervous system, loss of muscle control, depression, and headaches
2. Benzyl acetate–Benzyl acetate has been linked to cancer of the pancreas
3. Benzyl alcohol–This upper respiratory tract irritant can cause central nervous system (CNS) disorders, headache, nausea, vomiting, dizziness and dramatic drops in blood pressure.
4. Chloroform–Neurotoxic, anesthetic and carcinogenic. Really toxic to your brain. Inhaling its vapors may cause loss of consciousness, nausea, headache, vomiting, and/or dizziness, drowsiness.
5. Ethanol– Another fabric softener ingredient which is on the EPA’s Hazardous Waste list and linked to CNS disorders.
6. Ethyl Acetate–causes headaches and is on the EPA Hazardous Waste list
7. Linalool–in studies, this chemical caused loss of muscle coordination, nervous system and brain disorders, and depression
8. Pentane–causes headaches, nausea, dizziness, fatigue, drowsiness, and depression
Yikes!!!! So what do you do if you want to have fresh smelling clothing, sheets and towels? You discover Essential Oils! Have you heard about them but not quite sure how to use them? Visit the essential oils resource page. Here you will learn how to replace not only dryer sheets, but also household cleaning and even personal care products. You can also download this fun PDF. Still have questions? Get in touch at the Contact page and let me know how I can help!