Sharon Hubbs-Kreft, Herbalist - Amazing Grace Herbals LLC

  (Keyport, New Jersey)
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What's in your fabric softener and dryer sheets?

I received an email from a great friend and wanted to pass the info onto you. It is an excerpt from a very helpful book and may surprise you when you read on  . . .

Here are some words taken from Sloan Barnett's book, 'Green Goes with Everything' regarding fabric softeners and dryer sheets:

"...Here's what's in many everyday fabric softeners:  toluene, trimethylbenzene, styrene-which are neurotoxins according to the Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health-as well as phenols and xylene.  Still sound soothing?
     If you use conventional fabric softeners in your wash, this alphabet soup of toxicity is all over your body.  There's a party going on in your pants.  And your shirt.  And your nightgown.  And your baby's pajamas.
     Here's a quick list of other chemicals typically found in fabric softeners:  a-terpineol (irritates mucous membranes and causes central nervous system damage);  benzyl acetate (eye and respiratory irritant);  benzyl alcohol (can cause headache, nausea, dizziness, drowsiness, respiratory irritation, and a drop in blood pressure);  camphor (on the EPA's hazardous waste list);  ethyl acetate (eye and lung irritant and a narcotic); limonene (irritant, sensitizer);  linalool (central nervous system effects);  and pentane (eye and skin irritant and may cause headache, vomiting, dizziness or loss of consciousness).  So it's not the spin cycle that's making your head spin.
     If all this weren't troubling enough, there's another problem:  the whole point of fabric softeners is that they stay on the fabric...which means they are being released into the air you breathe and onto your skin as you wear your own clothes....
.....And speaking of static cling, let's talk dryer sheets.  They're made from synthetic fabric and/or polyurethane foam, which means they're not biodegradable, so they fill up the landfills.  More important, they include many of the same harmful toxins as fabric softener.  And because you use them in the dryer, there's no rinse cycle to dilute or dispurse them, and the heat of the dryer vaporizes some of the chemicals, sending them out into your home through the dryer vent.  This is yet another reason why indoor air is now far more loaded with pollutants than outdoor air.....
.....You can also make your own fabric softener by adding 1/4 cup baking soda to the wash cycle.  Adding 1/4 cup of white vinegar will also soften clothes as well as eliminate static cling.  You can eliminate static cling in the dryer by drying natural-fiber clothes and synthetic material clothing separately.  Better still, use an indoor or outdoor clothesline."
By the way, the Material Safety Data Sheet on Bounce Sheets suggests that we should 'wear gloves to minimize exposure and a mask so as to minimize the particles we inhale.'
There are many natural fabric softeners, dryers sheets and laundry soaps available. I like Seventh Generation products - they have a great website, are very informative and have lots of household products to choose from.
Peaceful Blessings!
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