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Are Fabric Softners Hazardous to Human Health

Fabric softnerThese days most of us like to use fabric softener after washing the cloths for the reason that they keep our cloths from being hard and stiff. Sounds simple enough, add a capful of chemical softener to your laundry routine and your cloths will come out super soft and static free.

But not all fabric softeners are good. People who suffer with allergies or with sensitive skin may face problem when using fabric softners, which is due to ingredients present in fabric softeners and gives it a fresh smell.

What is fabric softener?

Fabric softener is a combination of chemicals that coats the surface of the fabric with a thin waxy layer. It makes the fabric soft and fluff them up. This also helps to reduce static cling and changes the negative electrical charge from the detergent.

Initially fabric softeners were made using a combination of soap and natural oils which were natural, but these days many softeners are made using toxic chemicals and a large amount of some fragrance is used to make them smell fresh.

Some of the toxic chemical hazards found in chemical fabric softeners and their harmful effects.

  • Alpha Terpineol: can cause central nervous damage and respiratory problems
  • Camphor: causes central nervous disorders, is easily absorbed through skin
  • Benzyl Acetate: linked to pancreatic cancer
  • Benyl Alcohol: respiratory tract irritant
  • Ethanol: on the EPA’s “hazardous waste” list, can cause central nervous system disorders
  • Ethyl Acetate: a narcotic on the EPA’s “hazardous waste” list
  • Limonene: a known carcinogen that irritates eyes and skin
  • Linalool: causes central nervous system disorders and depresses heart activity

It is not only you; use of these chemicals is harmful for the environment too. First solution is completely stop using chemical softeners. Do you really need to use a product that has been linked to various forms of cancer and respiratory diseases?

But you don’t want to completely do away with the softeners. The solution is using natural softeners. Add vinegar or a quarter cup of baking soda to the rinse cycle to make clothes softer and cut some of the static cling.

Source about hazardous chemicals: US Environmental Protection Agency

One comment

  1. Hi Rekha,

    I’m Abhishek, a health fanatic & avid reader.

    I came across your blog from one of the top Indian blog sites, and I really enjoyed reading it.
    I wanted to share this interesting & healthy initiative that I joined recently- 66FitHoDays. And it’s really helped me get healthier.
    The website is 66fithodays.com
    It’s a self challenge, that was launched a few weeks back, and is getting quite popular.
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    Since your blog covers healthy living, your blog readers might enjoy knowing about this.

    And I look forward to more posts on your blog.

    Regards
    Abhishek

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