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> Toxic Dangers of Fabric Softener and Dryer Sheets


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  Posted: Nov 12 2007, 05:02 PM
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The Toxic Danger of Fabric Softener and Dryer Sheetsby SixWise.com
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Fabric softeners and dryer sheets with scents like April Fresh and Summer Orchard add toxic chemicals to your laundry and, consequently, your body.

Many people will remember a famous TV ad where a woman races to her washing machine, fabric softener in hand, only to arrive just as the wash ends. This woman who "forgot to ad the fabric softener" was actually doing herself and her family a favor.

Although they may make your clothes feel soft and smell fresh, fabric softener and dryer sheets are some of the most toxic products around. And chances are that the staggering 99.8 percent of Americans who use common commercial detergents, fabric softeners, bleaches, and stain removers would think twice if they knew they contained chemicals that could cause cancer and brain damage.

Here is a list of just some of the chemicals found in fabric softeners and dryer sheets:

* Benzyl acetate: Linked to pancreatic cancer

* Benzyl Alcohol: Upper respiratory tract irritant

* Ethanol: On the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Hazardous Waste list and can cause central nervous system disorders

* Limonene: Known carcinogen

* A-Terpineol: Can cause respiratory problems, including fatal edema, and central nervous system damage

* Ethyl Acetate: A narcotic on the EPA's Hazardous Waste list

* Camphor: Causes central nervous system disorders

* Chloroform: Neurotoxic, anesthetic and carcinogenic

* Linalool: A narcotic that causes central nervous system disorders

* Pentane: A chemical known to be harmful if inhaled

So how could products with pretty names like Soft Ocean Mist, Summer Orchard and April Fresh be so dangerous?

The chemicals in fabric softeners are pungent and strong smelling -- so strong that they require the use of these heavy fragrances (think 50 times as much fragrance) just to cover up the smells. Furthermore, synthetic fabrics, which are the reason fabric softeners were created in the first place, do not smell good either when heated in a dryer or heated by our bodies ... hence the need for even more hefty fragrances.

In other words, remove all the added fragrance that endears people to fabric softeners and -- like the cliché wolf in sheep's clothing -- the real smells of the chemical-laced fabric softener and the synthetic fabrics they were designed around may prompt people to shoot their laundry machines and be done with it.

Are "Soft" Clothes Worth It?

Fabric softeners are made to stay in your clothing for long periods of time. As such, chemicals are slowly released either into the air for you to inhale or onto your skin for you to absorb. Dryer sheets are particularly noxious because they are heated in the dryer and the chemicals are released through dryer vents and out into the environment. Health effects from being exposed to the chemicals in fabric softeners include:

* Central nervous system disorders
* Headaches
* Nausea
* Vomiting
* Dizziness
* Blood pressure reduction
* Irritation to skin, mucus membranes and respiratory tract
* Pancreatic cancer

Soften Your Clothes Safely With These Tips

Even if you don't feel the effects of these chemicals today, they can affect you gradually over time, and children, whose systems are still developing, are particularly at risk. There's really no reason to expose yourself to these risky chemicals when natural alternatives exist. Not only are they safer for you, your family and the environment, but they're much more economical too:

* Learn about Static Eliminator, a 100% safe, non-toxic dryer sheet system that is more effective at softening clothes and eliminating static cling but poses no risk to you and your family! This is one of the most highly recommended of all products we have reviewed, and you will find it is also extremely economical, too!

* Add a quarter cup of baking soda to wash cycle to soften fabric

* Add a quarter cup of white vinegar to rinse to soften fabric and eliminate cling

* Check out your local health food store for a natural fabric softener that uses a natural base like soy instead of chemicals

It's likely that fabric softeners and dryer sheets aren't the only toxic products in your home. Many household products that consumers regard as safe are also full of toxic chemicals.
Sources

Fabric Softener is Dangerous

The Hidden Life of Laundry

Chemicals Found in Fabric Softeners

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A 100% Non-Toxic, Economical Solution!

Static EliminatorThe Static Eliminator's woven sheets take static cling out, and soften fabric without any toxic chemicals whatsoever -- plus they are incredibly economical, as one box can be used to maximum effectiveness 500 times! (Or go for the super-economical double-pack for 1000 loads!)

* Completely Non-Toxic: The unique technology is based on the weave of the cloth so it is chemical-free!

* Very Economical! Each box highly effective for 500 loads of laundry! (To do 500 loads with chemical based dryer sheets takes 13 boxes!)

* 100% Hypoallergenic -- Safe for infants, allergy sufferers, eczema sufferers, and the chemically sensitive

* Softens Clothes & Eliminates Static without any harsh toxins

* Safe for Even the Most Delicate Fabrics

* Works at Any Heat Setting, with any amount of clothing

* Won't Stain or Spot Clothing

* Easier to Use & Reduces Waste: Unlike conventional dryer sheets that must be discarded, just leave the 100% safe polynylon Static Eliminator sheet right in the dr yer for load after load

* Won't Clog Up Your Dryer Vents because it contains NO chemicals!

Learn More About Static Eliminator Now!




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QUOTE
"Ye shall know them by their fruits"
~ Matthew 7:16

"Believe nothing. No matter where you read it, or who said it, even if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense."
~ Buddha
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Posted: Nov 12 2007, 05:05 PM
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Fabric Softener Is Dangerous
from Natural Life Magazine
March/April 2002 
QUOTE
Environment and health activists have long expressed concern about the environmental and health dangers of fabric softeners. But now, according to a Quebec coroner, a Canadian woman may have burned to death because her terry-cloth robe became more flammable after being washed in liquid fabric softener.

The coroner is conducting a further investigation into the woman’s death last fall and says it's still too early to say whether warnings should be placed on all units of liquid fabric softener sold in Canada. But in a published statement, he said the fabric softener acted like an accelerant.

An autopsy on 65-year-old Janine Humblet revealed that she suffered second- and third-degree burns after she dropped a cigarette on her bathrobe last Sept. 22.

The American watchdog magazine Consumer Reports has singled out fabric softeners as a potential fire risk when used with cotton, terry cloth or velvet fabrics. In test results published in its August 2000 issue, the magazine said a common terrry-cloth house robe caught fire nearly seven times more quickly after being washed regularly with liquid fabric softener.

Liquid fabric softeners sold in Canada do carry warnings advising users not to use the products on fire-resistant clothing because they have been shown to reduce the effectiveness of fire-resistant materials.

Fabric softeners contain many substances that may also be harmful to people and the environment. These may include Benzyl Acetate which has been linked to pancreatic cancer; Benzyl Alcohol, which is irritating to the upper respiratory tract; ethanol, which is on the EPA Hazardous Waste list and can cause central nervous system disorders; Limonene, which is carcinogenic; and a-Terpineol, which can cause respiratory problems, even fatal edema, and central nervous system damage. Liquid fabric softeners often contain formaldehyde.

http://www.life.ca/nl/84/softener.html


For an in-depth look at fabric softeners, see a more recent article on this topic from Natural Life magazine.




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QUOTE
"Ye shall know them by their fruits"
~ Matthew 7:16

"Believe nothing. No matter where you read it, or who said it, even if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense."
~ Buddha
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Posted: Nov 12 2007, 05:08 PM
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The Hidden Life Of... Laundry
By Chris Borris
QUOTE
Ah, clean! Fresh-smelling towels, chubby-cheeked cherubs snuggling into soft blankets that have been lovingly bathed in chlorine, benzene, formaldehyde . . . what?!

That’s not part of the image, but it is the reality for the 99.8 percent of Americans who use common commercial detergents, fabric softeners, bleaches, and stain removers. Plus doing our laundry burns through hundreds of thousands of barrels of oil and sends millions of pounds of chlorine into our air and water each year.

But we don’t have to put our health—or the environment—at risk to get our clothes brighter and whiter. Recipes for homemade greener cleaners abound, and nontoxic, eco-friendly laundry products are no longer rare.

Looking for the best of the conventional brands, on the other hand, isn’t always easy. Cleaning-product ingredients are considered "trade secrets," so manufacturers aren’t required to list all of them on the label.

(Environmentally friendly brands often do list ingredients, since they have nothing to hide.)

Philip Dickey, staff scientist at the Washington Toxics Coalition, advises consumers to look for products with specific, rather than general, claims: "90 percent biodegraded in three days," not just "biodegradable"; "contains no phosphates," not simply "environmentally safe."

Detergents and Bleaches: Thanks to activist efforts, many major makers of laundry products have reduced their use of phosphates, minerals that promote rapid (and ecologically dangerous) algae growth in lakes and streams. But the active ingredients in most detergents (called "surfactants") are still derived from petroleum, so the environmental damage starts with drilling, spilling, and refining oil—and can end with toxic residues contaminating our water and soil. Artificial fragrances, bleaches, and other additives in these "spring fresh" brews can cause rashes and aggravate asthma. Avoid these dangers by cleaning the old-fashioned way: with plant-based, fragrance-free soaps (and non-chlorine bleaches).

Dry Cleaning: Ever notice a harsh chemical smell clinging to your dry-cleaned clothes? That’s perchloroethylene, or "perc," a solvent that can cause dizziness, fatigue, confusion, nausea, and skin irritation in high doses, and—for those exposed to it repeatedly—liver damage and increased risk of miscarriage. Our air, soil, and water fare little better than our bodies: According to Greenpeace, 10 percent of drinking-water wells in California are contaminated with perc. And incinerating the chemical along with other hazardous waste generates dioxins and other pollutants. The Federal Trade Commission is proposing changing "dry-clean only" labels to recognize alternative methods, including "wet cleaning," a nontoxic, nonpolluting process that uses water and biodegradable soap. To find a wet cleaner near you, consult the Professional Wetcleaning Network (www.tpwn.net).

Stain Removers and Fabric Softeners: They may make your clothes look and feel clean, but these products can leave your garments tainted by formaldehyde and irritating synthetic fragrances. Spot removers also contain the pernicious perchloroethylene. A healthier alternative is probably as close as your kitchen cupboard: Some swear by egg yolk and lukewarm water for coffee stains, or sour milk or lemon juice followed by a salt rub and sun-drying for rust. Home Safe Home author Debra Lynn Dadd favors an all-purpose mixture of borax dissolved in cold water to treat blood, chocolate, coffee, and mildew stains. Clothes can be softened by adding baking soda during the rinse cycle. Look for a fabric softener with a natural base (such as soy) rather than one made from chemicals.

Washing: Why waste 40 gallons of water to do an average load of laundry?

Front-loading washers use one-third to one-half the water and less soap than conventional top-loaders—and they’re gentler on clothes and wring them drier in the spin cycle, cutting dryer time and energy use. Although they may cost twice as much as conventional washers, Consumers Union estimates that you can earn the money back in as little as six years of savings on water and energy bills. (The EPA’s Energy Star program provides buying tips at www.energystar.gov.) Use even less energy by choosing the cold-water cycle, reserving warm water for your grimiest duds. Since 86 percent of the energy consumed by a washing machine goes to heating the water, one household can eliminate 1,600 pounds of annual carbon dioxide emissions by washing in cold.

Drying: The saints among us line-dry every load.

The rest of us can make sure dryers are efficient, vented, cleaned, and kept in a heated space. Use the cooler permanent-press cycle, which takes advantage of residual heat. And try line-drying, at least in the summer: Not only will you prevent hundreds of pounds of CO2 from warming our planet, but your clothes will smell great, too.

Chris Borris is a freelance writer and editor living in Brooklyn, New York.

http://www.sierraclub.org/sierra/200209/hidden_printable.asp




--------------------
QUOTE
"Ye shall know them by their fruits"
~ Matthew 7:16

"Believe nothing. No matter where you read it, or who said it, even if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense."
~ Buddha
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