Thursday, November 17, 2011

The hazardous chemicals lurking in your laundry products

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17 November 2011

UK Edition

Dear Reader,

According to the adverts on television, there's only one way to do laundry. And that's with as many chemicals as possible. I mean, how else are you supposed to get sheets soft as clouds, scented like a meadow after a rainstorm?

But before you reach for that bottle of rainforest-fresh laundry detergent or sleepy time lavender fabric softener, take a minute to think about this: the chemicals that make up those detergents don't just stay in the machines.

That's right — by using those "harmless" laundry products, you could be filling your home with dangerous chemicals. Research published in the journal Air Quality, Atmosphere and Health shows that air coming from machines using best- selling scented detergents and dryer sheets contains hazardous chemicals — including two that are known carcinogens.

What's really troublesome about this is that there's absolutely no regulation whatsoever. As the lead author of the study points out, if these chemicals were coming from a smokestack at a factory, they'd be regulated. But coming out of the vent and pumping into your laundry room at home, there's nobody watching out for the quality and safety of your air.

Manufacturers of scented products simply don't have to tell you what's in them. We all assume they're safe because, hey, they're on the shelves of our local supermarkets , but that isn't the case.

Gases captured during the study contained more than 25 volatile organic compounds. Those compounds included seven hazardous air pollutants, among them the known carcinogens acetaldehyde and benzene. The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has established no safe exposure level for either of those carcinogens.

I use unscented natural laundry soap, and my towels are just fine without fabric softener, thank you very much. In fact, the lead researcher of this study recommends using products without any fragrance, in order to limit your family's exposure to harmful chemicals.

We don't have to buy into the marketing hype that tells us our laundry isn't clean enough unless it's laden with perfumes. Especially since doing so can be downright harmful to our health. Don't listen to the bear — your sheets and towels are plenty soft without the chemicals he's peddling.

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Bear in mind we are not addressing anyone's personal situation and you should rely on this for informational purposes only. Please consult with your own physician before acting on any recommendations contained herein.

Wishing you the best of health,

Andrew Miller
UK Editor
Nutrition and Healing

P.S. In the latest issue of Nutrition & Healing, Dr. Wright explains how to read your body's blueprint for treating – or preventing – depression... We'll also tell you what the best proven remedy is against winter infections... don't be unprepared! You'll also learn about the five unexpected benefits of vitamin A... plus much, much more...

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"Scented laundry products emit hazardous chemicals through dryer vents," Eurekalert (

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