I was pleased to see the feedback from my previous post, Artificial Fragrances Trigger Allergy and Asthma.
Obviously, there is so very much I can say on this topic and if I were to go on as much as I'd like, I would be writing a book! But because I know some of you wanted to know more specifically regarding artificial fragrances in laundry products, I thought I would go into a bit more detail.
Here was one question that I received.
How can I check my dryer sheets for artificial ingredients, and how do I know which ones are harmful? Specific ingredient names would be most helpful.
Go grab your laundry care products and have them in front of you.
Okay, so what do they say? If you use unscented, then they probably talk about being "dye-free" and "fragrance-free" and "free and clear" or maybe they use the simple term "unscented."
If you are using a natural laundry care product that has natural essential oils, then it may say it contains 100% natural essential oils dervied from a plant.
But if you are using one of the top main-stream laundry products like Tide, Gain or Downy then you are probably seeing words like "Fresh Scent," "Clean Breeze," "Original Scent" or "Fresh Lock."
You want to know what's in the fragrance, right?
Search for the ingredients. You will find it includes one of these two words "fragrance," or "perfume"
Manufacturers are not required to disclose the ingredients used in fragrances, or in laundry products.
So how do you know what's really in them? Well, you don't. Feel free to call the company and ask them, but more than likely they will try not to disclose that information (if you try it, let me know how it goes).
So you are looking at the label, you may see other ingredients with really long names. It probably looks like gobbly-gook.
Those ingredients don't even have anything to do with the fragrance because besides artificial fragrance, the leading main-stream laundry products contain other chemicals and preservatives that aren't healthy. But let's get back on-topic for now.
So what's in the fragrances?
If you can't find it on the label what is actually in the fragrance, which you won't, then seek research.
Like the study in 2008, that tested 6 top selling laundry care and air freshner products.
Nearly 100 volatile organic compounds were emitted from these six products, and none were listed on any product label. Plus, five of the six products emitted one or more carcinogenic 'hazardous air pollutants,' which are considered by the Environmental Protection Agency to have no safe exposure level," Steinemann said.
(Source: Toxic Chemicals Found in Common Scented Laundry Products, Air Freshners by Science Daily).
And another study in 2010, testing the leading products on the market.
"The products emitted more than 420 chemicals, collectively, but virtually none of them were disclosed to consumers, anywhere," Steinemann said.
Source: Scented Consumer Products Shown to Emit Many Unlisted Chemicals by Science Daily).
What can I use instead?
I would recommend visiting your local natural health market and perusing their laundry care product isle.
Below I will list some of the companies that I trust when it comes to laundry products and household cleaning.
Also I would like to stress, that if this is an issue of particular importance to you (and I hope it is!), then do some research yourself, too.
And visit the web site Healthy Child, Healthy World because I am guessing most of you reading are probably concerned parents who want to do all they can to protect their kids.
Because after all, our family is the most important thing to us and we want to make smart, healthy choices for them.
So from one mom to another, I urge you to take control of what products you choose. Knowledge is power, and the choice is ours to make.