Avoid these toxic chemicals found in your laundry detergent
There’s nothing like a new load of clean, scented clothes. Unfortunately, underneath those pleasant scents and squeaky cleanliness lies a dirty secret. Common laundry detergents from grocery stores are little more than a mix of toxic chemicals. They do the work, but at the cost of their health and that of their family.
What’s more, most people don’t even realize how many chemicals are in these products. You will not normally find them on the label and manufacturers are not required by law to list them. The toxicity of these substances ranges from fairly mild effects, such as allergies and skin irritation, to serious effects, such as neurological diseases and cancer, and developmental disorders in children. Here are some of the most widely used chemical laundry detergents and their potential dangers.
Any chemical formula of laundry detergent that contains stain removers will almost always contain surfactants called alkylphenol ethoxylates (APEs). These allow stain-causing particles to be removed more effectively. However, the FDA warns that these surfactants can disrupt proper hormonal function, which could cause infertility, early or late puberty, growth problems, and reproductive cancers.
These chemicals work by reacting with UV light, making whites appear whiter. Brightening agents are known to be phototoxic. This means that exposure to sunlight can trigger an allergic reaction on any skin it has come in contact with. Additionally, many experts also suspect that brightening agents could cause bacteria to mutate into more dangerous strains.
You may be more familiar with petroleum distillates in the form of kerosene, naphtha, and paint thinner. Many decades ago these substances were used to clean clothing, but the practice was stopped due to the health and safety hazards posed by the chemicals. Unfortunately, they are still used in laundry detergents today. Possible effects of exposure include respiratory damage, cancer, and irritation of the eyes, nose, and throat.
Also known as sodium hypochlorite, this toxic corrosive substance is responsible for the vast majority of household poisonings. It is highly reactive and often produces even more dangerous substances when it comes in contact with other cleaners such as ammonia, vinegar, and isopropyl alcohol. Long-term exposure to bleach and its fumes can cause hormonal disturbances, reproductive problems, respiratory problems, and immunosuppression.
This substance is used as a preservative, water softener and foam stabilizer. Also known as ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid or disodium EDTA, laboratory studies have found the chemical to be both cytotoxic and genotoxic. This means that EDTA damages the body’s DNA and cellular structures, a major risk factor for developing cancer and degenerative diseases.
These artificial scents are often very volatile and cause severe allergies in many people. They can also suppress the immune system and promote skin and lung cancers.
These fumes of this extremely strong chemical can burn the skin, eyes, and respiratory system. Repeated exposure is known to cause cataracts, corneal damage, pneumonia, and chronic bronchitis.
Like bleach, this substance is corrosive and can irritate the skin, respiratory tract, and mucous membranes. It has also been linked to asthma and increased attack frequency.
Those products that make your clothes so soft may seem magical, but it’s more like mad science. To achieve softness, fabric softeners contain phthalates, petroleum-based chemicals that, in most other applications, are used to make plastics flexible and pliable. Phthalates have shown strong links to allergies, asthma, skin rashes, irritation of the mucous membranes, and headaches, as well as developmental delays in children. They are also powerful endocrine disruptors that are suspected of causing birth defects, infertility, precocious puberty, menstrual irregularities, and numerous forms of cancer.
Rising fears of exposure to bacteria and our collective obsession with sanitation have led to the addition of antimicrobial substances to many common household products. Triclosan is the most widely used chemical for this application and is found in many household products, including laundry detergent. Some studies have linked triclosan, among other antimicrobials, with a higher incidence of allergies and food intolerances. Although this is because it deprives the immune system of contact with environmental pathogens, so it never learns to distinguish a real threat from a harmless substance. Instead, the immune system goes haywire, randomly attacking otherwise harmless materials, possibly including its own cells.
Other research has found that triclosan can cause skin problems and allergic hypersensitivity. Additionally, triclosan reacts with chlorine in tap water to produce chloroform, an extremely dangerous chemical. Chloroform is known to cause cardiac arrhythmias, heart failure, liver cancer, kidney cancer, and liver failure.
There are a lot of nasties in conventional laundry detergents, but luckily, there are better options available. ATTITUDE laundry detergent is one of the best. It is completely natural, free of harmful chemicals, and safe for you, your family, and the environment.