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Fabric softeners may not be safe to use?

By Maria Cendejas

Fabric softeners are meant to soften fabrics and cut down on static cling. Most standard fabric softeners and dryer sheets contain noxious scents and chemicals such as quarternary ammonium compound that lets loose a toxic chemical like formaldehyde into the environment. Formaldehyde causes a range of serious allergic reactions including rashes, respiratory conditions and neurological disorders. Even the eco-friendly fabric softeners are full with chemicals and fragrances that may cause a unacceptable reactions and it may have a harmful impact on your health, according to Natural News.
 
Although the newer eco-friendly products no longer include formaldehyde-containing chemicals, they are infused with other dangerous ingredients such as alpha-terpineol, camphor, benzyl acetatelimonene, ethyl acetate, pentane, benzyl alcohol, and chloroform. 
 
They also add to a long list of potential serious health problems ranging from nausea, vomiting, asthma, allergic skin reactions, liver and kidney disease, cancer and central nervous disorders, notes the Guide to Less Toxic Products, the website of the Environmental Health Association of Nova Scotia. Long-term use of fabric softeners and dryer sheets may add to chronic chemical over-exposure, building up slowly in the system, according to the US National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health.
 
The use of laundry softeners may make a variety of skin problems and you may not know that they are connected to exposure of dryer sheets. Itching, yeast infections, hives, rashes, cracking and dryness are all possible side effects from exposure to the topical effects of fabric softeners. 
 
In May 2000, Anderson Laboratories released a study in the Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health, reporting that five common products used in dryer sheets emit the chemicals styrene, phenol, toluene, thymol, xylene and trimethylbenzene. It was performed on mice, and it indicated that their entire upper respiratory systems were compromised, restraining airflow and normal respiration.
 
According to the reports The Guide to Less Toxic Products, many of fragrances used in dryer sheets are considered toxic to humans, and might add to developing cancer, asthma, kidney, and brain damage. Some symptoms include headaches, coughing, dizziness, vomiting, and a range of upper respiratory difficulties. Artificial fragrances have a potent effect on the nervous system potentially causing depression, hyperactivity and other behavioral problems. Chemical additives including fragrances can be especially harmful to children.
 
Dry natural fabrics separately from synthetics. Natural fibers don't develop static. Don't allow clothes to dry completely in the dryer, remove them while they are still slightly damp and hang them on the line to finish drying. The longer it remains in the dryer, the more static is developed. Green America suggests pre-soaking clothes in 1/2 cup of baking soda for 10 minutes if you have hard water. Baking soda acts as a natural fabric softener. Use natural laundry soaps with soy-based fabric softeners. Chose products that are scent free and have no dyes to limit any influence these chemicals may have. Make your own dryer sheets by soaking a small cloth in 1 tsp. of hair conditioner and allow it to dry. Toss in the dryer with clothing to remove static. Add 1/2 cup white vinegar to the rinse cycle before the wash is completed to soften clothes. Use chemical-free dryer balls to fluff fibers and remove static cling.