One of my friends alerted me to the fact that those fabric softener sheets some folks use are chock full of nasty chemicals. I’ve never used them myself (what! add another step to laundry? I can barely wash my clothes, and my family’s clothes, let alone remember to add something else when I do–), but I know people who do.
So what is the problem? Check out this article from Grinning Planet (a quirky new eco-site I just found). The chemicals used on are many lists of chemicals to AVOID using (gee, why would these be allowed, then?). This nasty listed of chemicals has been linked to cancer, allergies, nausea, vomiting, irritated respiratory function, and central nervous system disorders, according to the article. Sounds like fun, huh? Two of the chemicals are on the EPA’s hazardous waste list! All for some softness, a “clean” scent, and to avoid some static. The link also has some great alternatives for using fabric softener.
Here is another article on the subject, from World-Wire news, sharing most of the same information as the above article, with a few different alternatives to using fabric softener. This article also points out that the chemicals in these softeners are so strong that manufacturers have to use 50 times the normal amount of fragrance to cover it up! This should set off alarm bells for folks who avoid synthetic perfumes and fragrances (like we do) because of our kids’ sensitive skin and potential for allergic reactions.
I recently used fabric softener sheets to try and deter mice in our kitchen. I read this tip online and should have thought about it. Ah, if the scent deters mice, why exactly is it okay for my family to inhale it? It’s clearly not okay. One of the chemicals is “harmful if inhaled”, and we inhaled it everyday in our kitchen until the scent ran out. It did seem to work. Turns out the mice were smarter than we were.
For the chemically sensitive, the allergic, and all of us who are trying to limit our children’s exposure to toxic chemicals, clearly, fabric softener sheets are not as fresh as a mountain stream.