We are exposed to a plethora of toxins every day, and while we can’t remove every toxin from our life, we can take measures to lessen our exposure as well as enhance our bodies ability to detoxify. In today’s blog post I’m going give you 7 toxic reasons to ditch dryer sheets.
My mother has a form of dementia called Lewy Body Disease (LBD). It is neurological in nature, with no known cure. Most research suggests those who are inflicted with the disease live 8-12 years post-diagnosis. This is not a new disease, but a disease, not commonly diagnosed until post-mortem. Due to the worsening of her symptoms and test results that continued to come back “negative”, my mother had a frontal lobe biopsy, wherein, she was diagnosed with LBD.
I have routinely challenged her neurologist for insight into the cause of the disease and have never been given much to hang my hat on, except for one thing. With certainty, he has repeatedly said, “the only thing we know for sure, is, environmental toxins contribute to dementia.” You mean like pesticides, herbicides, pollutants, chemicals, heavy metals and stuff like that? Yep.
That is all the motivation I need, to do my very best to lessen the toxic load not only for myself but for my husband and children as well. As a family, we made a commitment to remove toxins from our food, by going “organic“. It was the first step in our journey. We started with food and then I found the best in natural cleaning products and gave my make-up a make-over.
As I delved further into how toxins relate to dementia, I came across the book The Brain Wash. This remarkable book explores how exposure to toxins are being linked to not only neurological disease but how they impact our overall health and what we can do to reduce our exposure to every day toxins.
Enter the dryer sheet…
Unless you live in a nudist colony, wearing clothes and washing clothes is a part of every day life. Of course, some of us may hang our clothes to dry on a line, but I would guess, most of us choose the modern-day dryer. If this is true, one of the most toxic things we do, on a regular basis, is the use of fabric softener or dryer sheets (we’ll pick on laundry detergent another day). Those perfume-laden (even fragrance-free) sheets and liquid are full of toxic chemicals. Chemicals that infiltrate the clothes we wear, which in turn get on our skin and absorbed into our body. And according to my mother’s neurologist, and other experts in this arena, contribute to dysfunction and disease of the nervous system.
Headlines around the world are reporting two disturbing trends: the incidence of brain disease is growing at an alarming rate; and increasing levels of industrial chemicals are being found in human bodies.” The Brain Wash
So here’s the real deal…don’t pick up a box of dryer sheets or fabric softener and expect to see a list of ingredients like you would a box of cereal. That is because, there are no laws in place, which require the manufacturers of these products, to list all the chemicals used. Often times what you will see listed, is something along the lines of, “biodegradable cationic softeners”. These so-called softeners that make our clothes fluffy and static-free, are toxic chemicals which build up in our body and over time can wreak havoc on our nervous system.
According to the author of The Brain Wash, here are the seven most common chemicals found in dryer sheets and their effect on the central nervous system:
1. Alpha-Terpineol causes central nervous system disorders. Can also cause loss of muscular coordination, central nervous system depression, and headache.
2. Benzyl Alcohol causes central nervous system disorders, headaches, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, central nervous system depression, and, in severe cases, death.
3. Camphor on the US EPA’s Hazardous Waste list. Central nervous system stimulant, causes dizziness, confusion, nausea, twitching muscles, and convulsions.
4. Chloroform on the EPA’s Hazardous Waste list. Neurotoxic and carcinogenic.
5. Ethyl Acetate on the EPA’s Hazardous Waste list. Narcotic. May cause headaches and narcosis (stupor).
6. Linalool causes central nervous system disorders. Narcotic. In studies of animals, it caused ataxic gait (loss of muscular coordination), reduced spontaneous motor activity, and depression.
7. Pentane causes headaches, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, drowsiness, and loss of consciousness. Repeated inhalation of vapours causes central nervous system depression.
True story. I ditched commercial dryer sheets some time ago, opting for a very expensive “healthy” product, that quite honestly didn’t really make a difference in our laundry. So I stopped buying it and went without. Recently my husband came home from work, it must have been a VIM (very important meeting) day as he was wearing dress slacks and a sport coat. I couldn’t help but notice, as he walked past me, his pants were stuck to his socks. Oh no! He was THAT GUY at work. Not only was the break, cut a little too short, on his pants (in my opinion), they were desperately clinging to his socks. It was worth a good chuckle, but he didn’t find it quite as entertaining.
There’s just one more thing that needs to be mentioned. The author of The Brain Wash did not address the toxic issues surrounding fragrance in fabric softeners and dryer sheets. However, Mike Adams, editor of Natural News, does a fine job explaining the dangers in this article.
When people use dryer sheets, they are coating their cloths with a thin film of artificial chemical perfumes. Just like other perfumes, a person’s sensitivity to these perfumes decreases over time to the point where they don’t even notice how potent these artificial fragrance chemicals are. None of this would be interesting if it weren’t for the fact that these fragrance chemicals are extremely toxic. They are known carcinogens. They cause liver damage and cancer in mammals.” Mike Adams
Ok, so I presented a problem, but as any good blogger knows, I can’t leave you without a solution. Felted wool dryer balls are an easy to make, non-toxic alternative to dryer sheets and commercial fabric softeners. Throw a few of these in the dryer with your laundry and you will never go back to dryer sheets again.