Are dryer sheets safe?
Many of us don’t think twice before throwing a couple of dryer sheets in with a clean load of laundry. After all, they cause our clothes to have a fresh scent and can cut down on static cling. But are we unknowingly exposing ourselves to chemicals? What do dryer sheets actually contain? In this article we will be revealing the truth about dryer sheets.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission does not require manufacturers to list all ingredients on the label. This is concerning because without a true understanding of what chemicals a product contains, you cannot truly assess whether it is a health hazard or not.
Researchers at the University of Washington, lead by Dr. Anne Steinemann, a professor of civil and environmental engineering and public affairs, expounded research to discover the chemical composition of many household products. They conducted a study that examined laundry detergents, dryer sheets, soaps, air fresheners, aerosol disinfectants and many other household products from a wide variety of companies.
The study revealed the following shocking results:
1- Every single product which was tested emitted at least one chemical classified as toxic or hazardous.
2- 11 of the tested products emitted at least one probable carcinogen according to the EPA.
3- Some of the tested products contained the following hazardous chemicals: Acetaldehyde, 1,4-dioxane, Formaldehyde and Methylene Chloride.
4- In total, the tested products emitted more than 420 chemicals. The majority of these chemicals were not listed on the label or disclosed to consumers.
5- The majority of products contained acetone and ethanol, which are chemicals found in nail polish remover.
Dr. Steinemann’s further research studies discovered 10 percent of those surveyed complained of negative effects from laundry products. Patients surveyed with asthma were also reported to have increased symptoms when exposed to certain household products, especially those containing fragrances.
Knowing this information, avoiding as many toxic chemicals as possible is obviously a good decision for your health. Fortunately, there are safe, natural alternatives to dryer sheets if you so choose to give them up.
A great alternative is the use of a wool ball! You can even add your favorite essential oil directly to the wool ball before starting your clothes in the dryer. This will give your clothes a fresh scent without exposure to toxic chemicals.