On this blog, I often stress the importance of awareness when it comes to what we are putting on and in our bodies. Oftentimes, this translates to skin care and the food we eat, but household products should also be an important consideration since we use these products regularly as well. Have you ever thought about the chemicals in conventional laundry detergents? These chemicals can linger on your clothes even after being rinsed and dried. Lingering on your clothes also means direct contact with your body and absorption through your skin. You may not do laundry daily, but you probably wear clothes daily 😉 meaning you could be subjected to the toxic chemicals from laundry detergent every single day if you are using conventional brands. Scary!
So what are these toxic chemicals and how scary are they? Here are just a few with their potential health risks:
- Benzaldehyde – Irritation to mouth, throat, eyes and skin
- Ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid – Reproductive and developmental effects in animal studies
- Artificial fragrances – Irritation to skin and eyes; many are toxic and are suspected carcinogens
- Quaternium-15 – Releases formaldehyde, a known carcinogen that causes rashes and skin inflammation
- ER, KSN, OB, OB-1 (Optical brighteners) – Possible developmental and reproductive effects
- Petroleum distillates (naphthas) – Chemicals linked to cancer and lung damage
- Nonylphenol ethoxylate – Hormone disruptor
- Propylene glycol- Hormone discrutor, also used in anti-freeze (insert wide eyed emoji)
For more toxic ingredients and their risks, check out this full chart here.
As you can see there are many health risks, through contact and through simply inhaling these chemicals. Obviously long term and consistent exposure will cause even more damage. When you are wearing the clothes washed with these chemicals and carrying the artificial scents and related toxins with you, you are also inhaling and absorbing as you go.
Many companies add optical brighteners to detergent formulas. These are additives that emit blue light, which makes your whites appear whiter. By design, these optical brighteners are meant to stay in clothes after washing, which may contribute to skin irritation. Fabric softeners are also designed to stay in clothes and not fully rinse out, which means lingering chemicals in constant contact with your body.
When and if you sweat, the moisture soaks into your clothing which causes laundry detergent chemicals sitting on your clothes to absorb into your skin easier. Armpits and the groin area sweat the most and these are also the areas that absorb up to 100% of what is applied to them topically. Rashes are common when the skin comes in direct contact with detergents, and some sensitive individuals may break out after wearing clothes that have been washed with conventional detergents.
Today, toxins are everywhere with very little regulation. It’s no surprise that there has been a rise in hormone-related issues for both women and men. Researchers have found that detergents can disrupt endocrine function and interfere with hormone balance. They can negatively affect fertility in males and increase breast cancer risk in females. Hormone imbalance also contributes to an extensive range of other problems including heart disease, depression, and mental impairment.
Not only do these toxic ingredients affect us, but they also impact the environment! The effect of laundry detergent on the environment is undeniable. Detergents that run into the water supply have been shown to interfere with aquatic life. The ingredients in conventional detergent brands are not natural and many plants and animals cannot process these chemicals. The ingredients sodium triphosphate and trisodium phosphate for example can make their way into the water and alter sea life development. In fact, phosphates that make their way into the water can increase the growth of toxin-producing algae which can kill plants, fish, dolphins, and other sea creatures. So sad!
Now, what alternatives are out there? Well there are more and more non-toxic laundry soaps and powders coming to the surface which is great. The truth? I’ve tried a few and have had a few fails. I won’t share the fails, but I will share with you the laundry powder I am currently using and loving!
Molly’s Suds Ultra Concentrated Formulated for Sensitive Skin – All natural, formulated with only five earth derived ingredients, free of fragrance, parabens, harsh chemicals, dyes and optical brighteners. This stuff works and I can rest easy knowing that it is safe for me, my husband, my growing baby and the environment. 🙂
Today is Molly’s Suds Cyber Monday Sale! 25% off + Free Stocking Stuffer with code CYBERSUDS.
Make the switch to a safer alternative. Do something today that your future self will thank you for.
Lots of love and good health,
Tasha, The Non-Toxic Newbie
Laundry Chemicals To Avoid by Sarah Lozanova http://www.motherearthliving.com/laundry-chemicals-to-avoid-zmez12mazsie
Here’s Why You Should Avoid Toxic Laundry Detergent Like It’s The Plague http://healthywildandfree.com/heres-why-you-should-avoid-toxic-tide-laundry-detergent-like-the-plague/
Toxic Laundry Detergent Ingredients to Avoid http://www.motherearthliving.com/health-and-wellness/toxic-laundry-detergent-ingredients-zmez12mazmel
Do You Know These 6 Facts About Laundry Detergent? http://www.globalhealingcenter.com/natural-health/do-you-know-these-6-facts-about-laundry-detergent/