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The Truth About Dryer Sheets

Updated: Jan 18, 2023

What chemicals are lurking in your dryer sheets?

Ah, laundry day! While it’s not my favorite thing in the world to do, who doesn’t love fresh clean laundry? But exactly how clean is it?


Today, I’m talking specifically about dryer sheets. Why do we use them? Are they necessary? Are they safe to use?


From reducing static to making your laundry smell fresh and clean, dryer sheets are considered somewhat of a necessity. When I first began to develop chemical sensitivity, one of the first symptoms I noticed was a sensitivity to fragrances. When it comes to scented products, few were worse for me than the dryer sheets. But it’s not just about the smell.


What You Don’t Know About Fragrance


The term “fragrance” or “parfum” can include unknown quantities and combinations of more than 4,000 chemicals used to create scented products in products including personal care products, cleaning products, and many others. Any time you see the term fragrance, perfume, or parfum, know that this term can include an unknown number of chemicals. The reasons this term is unregulated is that scents are considered proprietary, so the manufacture does not have to disclose which chemicals are used. It’s an industry term that allows for manufacturers to hide these harmful chemicals behind this seemingly harmless term.


Many of these chemicals are known carcinogens, pollutants and endocrine disruptors and are known to cause birth defects. For those who have allergies or chemical sensitivities, the effects of exposure can trigger mild to severe symptoms ranging from asthma and difficulty breathing, to neurological symptoms such as numbness, tingling or changes in vision, to difficulty swallowing and GI symptoms, or even seizures.


Why It Matters


According to one study on dryer sheets “Analyses found more than 25 VOCs emitted from dryer vents, with the highest concentrations of acetaldehyde, acetone, and ethanol. Seven of these VOCs are classified as hazardous air pollutants (HAPs) and two as carcinogenic HAPs (acetaldehyde and benzene) with no safe exposure level, according to the US Environmental Protection Agency.”


"Analyses found more than 25 VOCs emitted from dryer vents, with the highest concentrations of acetaldehyde, acetone, and ethanol. Seven of these VOCs are classified as hazardous air pollutants (HAPs) and two as carcinogenic HAPs (acetaldehyde and benzene) with no safe exposure level, according to the US Environmental Protection Agency."

Avoiding cancer and birth defects and protecting the environment are the most obvious benefits to switching to a non-toxic alternative, but we too often overlook the risk factor for developing chemical sensitivity. Each person is unique, but with the increase in the amount of chemicals used in our world, the risk of developing chemical sensitivity and associated symptoms increases along with it. In short, we are all at risk of becoming toxic and developing chemical sensitivity related symptoms. And once it begins, the effects can be challenging to reverse. The best place to start is prevention. If you are already experiencing symptoms of chemical sensitivity, it’s even more important to consider the products you use on a daily basis and minimize your exposure as much as possible.


Alternatives To Dryer Sheets


The best alternative for dryer sheets are wool dryer balls. They are a naturally non-toxic way to avoid static. And as a reusable alternative, a great way to save money as well.

Another great way to reduce the source of static in your laundry is to opt for natural materials rather than synthetic fibers or blends. It is these synthetic fibers that actually create a static charge in clothing. Switching to natural fibers like linen, cotton or hemp reduces the need for dryer sheets completely. Whenever possible opt for 100% natural products.


Are Toxins Causing Your Symptoms?


From asthma to migraines, to food allergies and sensitivities and a whole host of other symptoms and conditions, chemicals and toxins could be the reason you are not feeling well. Are you ready to find out? Stop suffering and start feeling good! Sign up for a FREE coaching session via the link below.




Resources

 
  1. “The IFRA Transparency List” Published 2022, Accessed August 16, 2022, https://ifrafragrance.org/priorities/ingredients/ifra-transparency-list

  2. “Chemical emissions from residential dryer vents during use of fragranced laundry products” Published August 19, 2011, Accessed August 16, 2022, https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11869-011-0156-1

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