Most laundry detergents are loaded with extremely toxic chemicals that you could be absorbing through your clothes.
Residues of these chemicals are left on your clothes and are absorbed by your skin and evaporated into the air where they are breathed in. Most would be surprised to find that even ‘Green’ labeled detergents contain toxic ingredients.
Toxic Ingredients Found in Laundry Detergents:
Research conducted by various environmental groups and Dr. Samuel Epstein identified some of the toxic synthetic compounds in laundry detergents:
- Pthalates (hormone disruptor)
- Triclosan (Toxic to liver function)
- Polyethylene Glycol (a potent carcinogen)
- Quaternium-15 (releases formaldehyde, a potent carcinogen, often contaminated with DEA – another carcinogen)
- Linear Alkyl Sodium Sulfonates (carcinogenic, reproductive toxins)
- Petroleum Distillates (carcinogenic, cause lung damage, lung inflammation and damage to mucous membranes)
- Phenols (toxic to central nervous system, heart, blood vessels, lungs and kidneys)
- Sodium Hypochlorite (carcinogenic, reproductive, endocrine and immune system disorders)
- Diethanolamine (carcinogens, can react with other chemicals to form nitrosamines)
- Triethanolamine (carcinogens, can react with other chemicals to form nitrosamines)
- EDTA (hormone disruptor, can dissolve toxic heavy metals trapped in underwater sediments and release them into the food chain)_
- Optical Brighteners (cause allergic reactions in humans and are toxic to fish)
Study – Scented Laundry Products Emit Hazardous Chemicals:
A study published in the journal Air Quality, Atmosphere and Health, show that air vented from machines using the top-selling scented liquid laundry detergent and scented dryer sheet contains over 20 hazardous chemicals.
“This is an interesting source of pollution because emissions from dryer vents are essentially unregulated and unmonitored,” said lead author Anne Steinemann, a UW professor of civil and environmental engineering and of public affairs. “If they’re coming out of a smokestack or tail pipe, they’re regulated, but if they’re coming out of a dryer vent, they’re not.”
Manufacturers are not required to disclose the ingredients used in fragrances, or in laundry products.
Researchers asked two homeowners to volunteer their washers and dryers, cleaned the inside of the machines with vinegar, and ran full cycles using only water to eliminate as much residue as possible.
Analysis of the captured gases found more than 25 volatile organic compounds, including seven hazardous air pollutants, coming out of the vents. Of those, two chemicals — acetaldehyde and benzene — are classified by the Environmental Protection Agency as carcinogens, for which the agency has established no safe exposure level.
“These products can affect not only personal health, but also public and environmental health. The chemicals can go into the air, down the drain and into water bodies,” Steinemann said.
Soap Nuts Detergent Alternative
Not many people in North America have heard of Soap Nuts, but they have been used for thousands of years in Northern India and Nepal where they grow in the wild. They are not truly a nut, but are actually the dried flesh of a simple berry related to the Lychee. When they are dried in the sun they are quite hard and therefore resemble a nut.
Many plants have a protective coating they use as a natural defense mechanism against insects called saponin. Saponin is a completely natural surfactant, which is the main active ingredient in many detergents. Soap Nuts have some of the highest concentrations of saponin found in nature! As a result they make a great natural soap.
As they re-hydrate they release the saponin into the wash water, breaking the surface tension and subsequently lifting the dirt out of the fabric and cleaning your clothing, softening the fabric as well.
There are no other ingredients, just the fruit. No additives, no perfumes, no fillers and nothing to irritate even the most sensitive skin. The best part is that they can be used a bunch of times before all of the saponin has dissolved, and then they can just be composted. Absolutely zero waste. They come sealed to keep the moisture out in a biodegradable plastic bag, and are then packaged in a organic cotton sack.
It’s time to take responsibility for the pollution we create and not buy toxic laundry detergent. Boycott the companies that are poisoning our planet and they will disappear.