What is in those dryer sheets that have a strong fragrance?
Dr. Anne Steinmann* tested dryer vent emissions with 25 of the most common brands of scented laundry products, here’s what she found:
- More than 600 volatile organic compounds (VOCs) were emitted and none of the chemicals were listed on any of the 25 product labels. Instead, these chemicals are listed under generic categories such as “biodegradable surfactants,” “softeners,” or “perfume.”
2. Two of the VOCs found; acetaldehyde and benzene are considered by the EPA to be carcinogenic and unsafe at ANY exposure level.
3. Seven of the VOCs are classified as “hazardous air pollutants.”
4. Three of the highest concentration VOC levels were for acetaldehyde, acetone and ethanol.
5. Only 25 percent of the VOCs were classified as toxic or hazardous under federal laws.
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and industry-generated Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) , the following is a list of chemicals used in fabric softener products.
- 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–An upper respiratory tract irritant can cause central nervous system (CNS) disorders, headache, nausea, vomiting, dizziness and dramatic drops in blood pressure.
4. Chloroform– toxic to your brain. Inhaling its vapors may cause loss of consciousness, nausea, headache, vomiting, and/or dizziness, drowsiness.
5. Ethanol– on the EPA’s Hazardous Waste list and linked to central nervous system disorders.
6. Ethyl Acetate–causes headaches and is on the EPA Hazardous Waste list.
7. Linalool–some studies have shown this chemical caused loss of muscle coordination, nervous system and brain disorders, and depression.
8. Pentane–has been shown to cause headaches, nausea, dizziness, fatigue, drowsiness, and depression.
*SOURCE Air Quality, Atmosphere & HealthAn International JournalISSN: 1873-9318 (Print) 1873-9326 (Online)
Dryer sheets have numerous chemicals which can cross your blood brain barrier, in addition many fragrances are petroleum based and can be neurotoxic. These chemicals can sensitize your immune system and build up your level of toxicity, making you more reactive with each exposure.
Alternatives to Dryer Sheets
1 Use wool balls. They are 100% natural and are effective at getting rid of static cling, wrinkles, and soften clothes.
2 Use natural fiber clothes. They don’t get static cling like synthetic fabrics.
3 Add ¼ C. vinegar to the wash or rinse cycle, to remove static cling.
4 Dry your clothes on a clothesline or indoor drying racks.
5 Remove your clothes before they’re completely dry and hang up. The slight amount of remaining moisture will prevent static cling.