Toxic Chemicals Commonly Found in Brand Name Laundry Detergent
Although fragrances give you that sense of things smelling clean, they do more to trick you than actually help you. Your brain is hard-wired to associate certain scents with clean, but did you know that those scents can also contain hormone-disrupting chemicals that are linked with hyperactivity in children, weight gain, lowering testosterone and cancers? Phthalates are plasticizer chemicals used to make scents carry longer and they are typically found in “fragrance” without a label telling you they are there. The ingredients of these substances are considered to be trade secrets and, therefore, companies are not required to disclose their components to the general public.
If you see “fragrance” or “perfume” on the ingredient list, the product may also contain chemicals such as acetone or ethanol, just two of thousands of possible ingredients that can disrupt your family’s health.
Nonylphenol Ethoxylates (NPEs)
Nonylphenol ethoxylates (NPEs) are an EDC that mimics estrogen and is linked to both hormonal problems and cancer. According to the EPA, NPEs have been associated with reproductive and developmental effects in labs studies on rodents and are highly toxic to aquatic life. They have been found in human breast milk, too. While the EPA is starting to take action on NPEs, they have not yet banned this item.
Although this chemical is not supposed to be used in products, studies have discovered it in a number of laundry detergents. 1,4-dioxane isn’t added directly to your laundry detergent, it’s a contaminant that gets in during a process called ethoxylation when ethlyene oxide is added to other ingredients to make them less harsh. processing. Ingredients like sodium laureth sulfate are ethoxylated because they are harsh on the skin. This process is what creates the contamination of 1,4-dioxane. The EPA has determined that this chemical is a probable human carcinogen.
Synthetic and Petroleum-Based Surfactants
Surfactants help to clean your products. When they are synthetically derived or petroleum-based, they are the most harmful. One example is ammonium laureth sulfate (ALES), which can be harmful to your children, causing possible eye damage, and to the health of animals. ALES also contains polyethylene glycol (PEG). This chemical can penetrate the skin and is listed as a skin irritant in EWG’s Skin Deep Database.
Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) /Sodium Laureth Sulfates (SLES)
SLS and SLES are naturally derived surfactants but that doesn’t mean they are not harmful. Both have been shown to be a skin and eye irritant by the Journal of the American College of Toxicology. There is debate over whether SLS is a carcinogen, and some research indicates it may damage the immune system. Both are harmful to the environment.
Phosphates are difficult to remove, even in wastewater processing systems, and can pose a threat to the environment. According to the EPA, they promote algae growth that decreases the oxygen that many aquatic life forms need to survive. Studies also link them to cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, and death in animals.
Chlorine bleach, such as Clorox, can burn the skin, and can cause eye damage and respiratory issues. It is classified as a hazardous chemical in its initial state.
Ammonium Quaternary Sanitizers (Quats)
Lab studies have shown this chemical to harm fertility, cause miscarriages, and cause severe birth defects in animals. According to Chemical of the Day, they can also trigger skin and respiratory irritations as well as allergies. Some quats are also EDCs and some are toxic to aquatic life. Not much is known about its effect on humans, but this is definitely a chemical you don’t want around your children.
Benzyl Acetate, and Other Benzene Ingredients
According to its own material safety sheet, this benzyl acetate is toxic if inhaled or ingested. It’s also irritating to eyes, lungs, and skin. Benzene-based ingredients are often toxic.
The EPA states that this chemical can irritate your throat, skin, or eyes and may have even more serious health effects. In animal lab studies, it has also been associated with harmful effects during pregnancy, neurological effects, and more.
These chemicals create the “optical illusion” of brighter whites. They “coat” your clothing and remain after washing, meaning that your family’s skin is constantly exposed to them. According to the material safety sheet, they are extremely toxic to aquatic life. They are also an irritant to skin, eyes, and lungs, and can be harmful if ingested.
Quaternium-15 & Formaldehyde
Quaternium-15 releases formaldehyde. Additionally, some companies add formaldehyde to their products. Formaldehyde is a known carcinogen and toxicant.
Use Borax powder as it is an essential mineral (Boron) and white vinegar as a fabric softener instead of commercial laundry poisons.