Dangerous, Toxic Chemicals Found in Dryer Sheets and Fabric Softeners

by Danielle on July 28, 2010

chemicalsThere are a number of harmful chemicals found in traditional household dryer sheets that you should avoid. To soften clothing, a number of harsh agents are added to dryer sheets and fabric softeners. Here you can find a list of some of the common chemicals found in fabric softeners and dryer sheets, and why you should avoid them.

PENTANE
Pentane is a component of some fuels, so why would you want to add it to your clothing? This chemical if it comes in contact with the skin can cause dermatitis. If inhaled, the vapors can cause dizziness, nausea, headaches, and other irritations.

LINALOOL
Linalool is a narcotic that can cause CNS disorders. It can reduce motor activity and cause depression.

LIMONENE
Limonene is a carcinogenic found in dryer sheets and fabric softeners. The chemical is an irritant and sensitizer that should be avoided.

ETHYL ACETATE
Ethyl Acetate is a narcotic that should be washed thoroughly after handling. It is on the EPA’s hazardous waste list, and just happens to be in some dryer sheets and fabric softeners.

CHLOROFORM
This dangerous chemical, Chloroform, is an anesthetic, carcinogenic, and overall, nasty chemical to be around. Inhalation of chloroform can cause a lot of symptoms ranging from headaches to nausea, vomiting, and dizziness (and in extreme cases, death). Chronic exposure to the chemical has been known to cause kidney disorders and liver problems. In other words, why should it be in your dryer sheets?

CAMPHOR
Camphor can cause central nervous system disorders. It is often synthetically produced from oil of turpentine for its aroma.

BENZYL ALCOHOL
Benzyl alcohol is irritating to the upper respiratory tract. A drop in blood pressure, vomiting, dizziness, and other extreme symptoms can be the result of this chemical found in many dryer sheets.

BENZYL ACETATE
A carcinogen linked to pancreatic cancer, there’s no reason you would want to come into contact with Benzyl Acetate. The chemical has adverse affects in laboratory mice like irritation of the eyes and respiratory passages, and systemic affects.

ALPHA-TERPINEOL
Causes central nervous system disorders and is highly irritating to the mucous membranes. Respiratory depression, hypothermia can be the result of overexposure to this chemical.

So what should you do to avoid these chemicals? First, stop using fabric softeners and dryer sheets. They can ruin your dryer and lessen the life of your clothing.

For an eco friendly alternative to dryer sheets and fabric softeners that don’t contain any of these chemicals, try soap nuts for your laundry washing and reusable dryer sheets. You can also opt to simply hang your clothes to dry outside instead of using a dryer (which is also far better for the environment).

This article contains information from the following source:
Compiled by Julia Kendall*, Co-Chair, Citizens for a Toxic-Free Marin. Phone: (415) 485-6870. Reference: Lance Wallace, Environmental Protection Agency; Phone (703) 341-7509 Excerpts from “Health Hazard Information.” References: Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS). Provided with permission by Barbara Wilkie wilworks@lmi.net of the Environmental Health Network (of California). [*NOTE: Julia Kendall died July 12, 1997 from Multiple Chemical Sensitivities and Leukemia caused by pesticide poisoning.]

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Ken Rasner July 28, 2010 at 10:05 pm

It’s kinda alarming that the deadliest chemicals are found in our cleaners. I think they start manufacturing earth-friendly cleaners and detergents.

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