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Do you know how many toxins are in your dryer sheets?

Updated on September 21, 2015
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Sandy J Duncan is a Neurofeedback Specialist and completing her Doctorate in Natural Medicine. She empowers readers with natural solutions!

Dangerous chemicals on your dryer sheets

We all do laundry and as mother of 5 teenagers, my washing machine is basically always running. I had no clue that those Fresh Spring scented sheets advertised to stop static actually contain neurotoxins and are often carcinogenic. Even those labeled as perfume free can be chock full of other nasty chemicals that should be handled as toxic waste rather than rubbed all over our clothes before we wear them.

These chemicals can affect the central nervous system and cause symptoms such as: aphasia (a form of brain damage which affects your speech), blurred vision, dizziness, mild to severe headaches, memory loss, and numbness just to name a few. There are also many conditions aggravated and made worse by these toxins including: Alzheimer’s Disease, ADD, Dementia, Multiple Chemical Sensitivity, Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson’s Disease, Seizures, Strokes, SIDS, and learning disabilities.

A great resource on the hazards found in our everyday environment is The Brain Wash by Michelle Cook. She says, "There are two very disturbing trends: the incidence of brain disease is growing at an alarming rate; and increasing levels of industrial chemicals are being found in human bodies."

Sadly we don't find the toxic ingredients on the label for dryer sheets because the current laws don't require the manufacturers to tell us what we are putting on our clothes. The box at the grocery store says “Keep out of Reach of Children”. But if we are putting them in the dryer with our children's clothes, aren't they "reaching" our children in a very intimate way, all day and everyday! These same ingredients that may make our clothes smell nice are toxic chemicals which build up in our body and can do serious damage to the central nervous system.

Chemicals found in most brands of dryer sheets

1. Alpha-Terpineol can cause central nervous system disorders as well as loss of muscular coordination, depression of the central nervous system. Often a major headache trigger.

2. Benzyl Alcohol causes central nervous system disorders, headaches, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, depression of the central nervous system and in rare cases can be fatal.

3. Ethyl Acetate can be found on the EPA’s Hazardous Waste list. This substance isa narcotic. Can cause headaches and narcosis/stupor.

4. Chloroform included on the EPA’s Hazardous Waste list and a known neurotoxin and carcinogenic.

5. Linalool is a narcotic that causes central nervous system disorders. In recent research conducted with animals, it caused loss of muscular coordination, reduced spontaneous motor activity, and depression.

7. Pentane is a harmful chemical whose repeated inhalation of vapors may cause central nervous system depression. Contact with pentane can cause eye irritation. Prolonged exposure may cause dermatitis (skin rash). Labels for pentane say: Warning: Harmful if inhaled and extremely flammable. Keep away from heat and avoid breathing vapor. Inhalation of vapors may cause headache, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, drowsiness, irritation of respiratory tract and even loss of consciousness.

I haven't used a dryer sheet since I became aware of the dangers lurking in them. It is just not worth it!

Chemicals are absorbed through our skin

Whether we want to admit it or not, the fact is that what we place on our skin is absorbed directly into our bloodstream. A good example of this idea is nicotine patches. The patch doses through the skin to the bloodstream to help wean someone from smoking. While there may be some chemicals that are too large to enter our bloodstream, many chemicals are small enough to penetrate. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) published a combination of two studies that found toxic chemicals in the umbilical cord blood of newborn babies born in the U.S. They screened for more than 400 chemicals, and a sickening 287 toxins were detected within the umbilical cord blood of these newborns. Of these 287 chemicals, 217 were neurotoxins, and 208 are known to damage growth development or cause birth defects.

All Natural Alternative: Wool Dryer Balls

So what can you do to keep your clothes smelling sweet and static free without those toxic dryer sheets? All natural wool dryer balls with a few drops of Essential Oil are a perfect solution. Dryer Balls save you from the toxin's found on the commercial dryer sheets and save you money because they reduce drying time by up to 25% by increasing space as they bounce around with your clothes.

Resources (Environmental working group)

Related blog: Soap Nuts Liquid Detergent as a Toxin Free Choice


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