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Dryer sheets are an essential component of their washing regimen for millions of individuals. Most of us don’t think twice about putting a couple of sheets into the dryer – it’s simply part of the laundry routine. But, while retrieving a warm, fresh load of scented clothes from the dryer may make you feel warm and fuzzy, there’s probably something more going on within your body.
What if I told you that those dryer sheets are full of substances you wouldn’t want to put on your greatest enemy? What about the “blossoms and flowers” on the dryer sheet box? Please don’t fall for it. Dryer sheets are a dangerous rip-off. That implies you’re paying a higher price for a product that might make you ill.
Things like recognized carcinogens, toxic pollutants, endocrine disruptors, and something that target specific organs.
The Truth About Dryer Sheets
Have you ever examined a package of dryer sheets? Images of flowers or line-dried laundry are likely to appear, along with promises of freshness, fabric softening, static reduction, and wrinkle-fighting ability. Unfortunately, you won’t see an incomplete list of the chemical concoction cooked into the sheets. The present US Consumer Product Safety Commission does not compel dryer sheet producers to reveal real contents, including the chemicals used in aroma mixes, as absurd as that may seem.
Scientists have been examining sheets and dryer vent exhaust to obtain a clearer image of what’s truly in these things that many people use daily to help us figure out what’s in them. Unfortunately, the outcome isn’t pretty.
Pioneering fragrance researchers Anne Steinemann, Ph.D., a professor of civil and environmental engineering, looked into the chemicals shooting out of dryer vents in one of the fascinating investigations to date. Steinemann and her colleagues measured laundry emissions using scented fabric softener and dryer sheets in clean washers and dryers, using fresh, pre-rinsed organic towels.
What was that that was flowing out of those vents? (As well as people’s lungs?) There are seven dangerous air contaminants and 25 volatile organic compounds to be concerned about (VOCs). Some of them, such as acetaldehyde and benzene, are toxic at any concentration. (These are also contaminants often ejected from car exhaust pipes).
In false scent mixtures, acetaldehyde is a popular component. Unfortunately, it’s “possibly carcinogenic to humans” and has adverse effects on the kidneys, neurological system, and lungs. While outside emissions are restricted, it’s a pure free-for-all for house usage. And it comes with a slew of negative consequences.
In a 2016 survey, Steinemann discovered that 12.5 percent of consumers attributed health problems to scented laundry items emitted through dryer vents. Respiratory issues, runny noses, asthma episodes, skin problems, headaches, and even stomach complaints are among them. Knowing this, physicians should write fragrance-free prescriptions for all of their patients!
The reality is most individuals are completely unaware that they are releasing such harmful contaminants into their communities.
According to one of Steinemann’s fragrance studies, acetaldehyde emissions from five popular scented detergent and dryer sheet brands “account for around 6% of acetaldehyde emissions from cars.” That’s a lot of information. She goes on to say,
These items have the potential to harm not just one’s health but also the public’s health and the environment. Chemicals may be released into the air, down the drain, and into bodies of water. We pay a lot of attention to minimizing pollution emissions from autos. Here’s an example of a pollution source that may be minimized.
Other dryer sheet and dryer sheet component studies revealed the following significant findings:
- At least one carcinogenic hazardous air pollutant was found in 44% of scented laundry products tested. Acetaldehyde, 1,4-dioxane, and formaldehyde are a few examples.
- Migraines, asthma attacks, eye and throat irritation, and contact dermatitis are some of the more acute hazards of synthetic smells in laundry detergents.
- FIn one investigation, fabric softening products were shown to cause restricted airflow and pulmonary discomfort in mice.
- In 2009, approximately 10% of the general public in the United States reported being irritated by odors emanating from dryer vents. By 2016, the figure had risen to more than 12%.
- The Silent Spring Institute discovered that dryer sheets have some of the highest quantities of toxic aroma compounds in a study concentrating on hormone disruptors and asthma triggers in daily items. AIn addition, cetyl hexamethyl tetralin, iso bornyl acetate, and phenethyl alcohol were also discovered.
- Dryer sheets typically include quaternary ammonium compounds, which may provoke asthma episodes, according to EcoWatch. These cationic fabric softeners also cause reproductive harm in animals regularly. In addition, acetone in the bedding may cause headaches and dizziness. Aside from that, scent compounds might account for up to 10% of the weight of a dryer sheet.
- On the Environmental Working Group’s Guide to Healthy Cleaning, dryer sheet “grades” vary widely. Because of their well-known asthma-triggering qualities, specific “F” products included quaternary ammonium compounds. Other fabrics softening chemicals often found in dryer sheets are hazardous to animals.
Alternatives to Dryer Sheets from the Store
The good news is that you won’t die if you don’t use dryer sheets. (This is correct!) In truth, people have survived for hundreds of years and have successfully laundered their clothes without the use of modern-day scented laundry solutions. But unfortunately, it wasn’t until 1969 that a dryer sheet patent was granted. Conrad J. Gaiser, the inventor, later sold the patent to Procter & Gamble, which produced Bounce dryer sheets.
Some of these laundry room tricks will help you avoid the toxins in dryer sheets:
- Fill your washer’s rinse cycle with a quarter cup of white vinegar.
- Look for unscented, plant-based washing detergents. (Alternatively, you may create your own using unscented castile soap.)
- To dry your clothes, hang them outdoors. (You’ll also see a reduction in your energy bill!)
- Fill your dryer with wool dryer balls. It also reduces the amount of time it takes to dry. FAdda a few drops of organic, therapeutic-grade peppermint essential oil to the balls. for a gentle, natural aroma.
- Always use unscented, plant-based washing detergents. Make your laundry soap at home.
- Laundry products labeled as “green” should be avoided. In certain instances, they even emitted hazardous chemicals.
- To preserve the health of everyone in your neighborhood and workplace, lobby your business, apartment complex, and neighbors to adopt these fragrance-free laundry procedures.
- Chemicals related to hormone disruption and asthma have been found in dryer sheets, making them one of the biggest offenders.
- More than 12% of Americans have had adverse health effects due to dryer vent pollutants.
- Many dryer sheets include chemicals that react with the air to produce formaldehyde, w known health carcinogen.
- Other pollutants identified in dryer sheets include acetaldehyde and benzene, which are also present in car exhaust and are not considered safe at any concentration.
- You may prevent static cling organically by adding a quarter cup of white vinegar to your washer’s rinse cycle to limit your exposure to dryer sheet chemicals. You may alternatively line dry your clothes or use wool dryer balls.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are dryer sheets toxic?
A: Dryer sheets are not toxic, but there is some debate on whether or not the chemicals used in drying sheets can cause harm to your health. Some studies have shown that these chemicals may be linked to causing skin irritation and asthma. However, other tests show that they do no more harm than regular clothes if you wash them thoroughly after use.
Can you use aluminum foil instead of dryer sheets?
A: This is not a good idea because aluminum foil can be unsafe for an infant to chew on or swallow. You should always consult your child’s pediatrician before using any metal in the home.
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