You may not think much about what type of laundry detergent you buy, beyond how much it costs and how effectively it treats stains. Did you know that the laundry room can be one of the dangerous rooms in the house because of the amounts of chemicals that are released in it?
You would never eat laundry detergent, yet you absorb the chemicals that it is in it whenever you put your clothes on, sleep in your bed or use a towel.
U.S. manufacturers aren’t required by law to disclose the ingredients in their laundry detergents. The truth is that they leave toxic residues on your clothes and release chemicals into the air. These toxins are in turn being absorbed by your skin and your lungs. Even when they don’t harm you directly, they are released into the environment, poisoning fish, wildlife and even your own food and water.
Artificial fragrances and dyes: those “linen fresh” or “flower garden” scents found in many laundry detergents aren’t really that pleasant when you consider their potential costs to your health. A University of Washington study confirmed many people’s suspicions that scented laundry detergents emit several types of toxic chemicals, including two that cause cancer. It’s no surprise that they can cause allergic reactions, asthma attacks, and skin and eye irritation.
Synthetic surfactants: the surfactant is the element in laundry detergent that bonds with dirt and grease and removes them from your clothes. One type of surfactant used in conventional laundry detergents is nonyl phenol ethoxylate, a chemical that has been found to stimulate the growth of breast cancer cells and has been banned in Europe. Linear alkyl sodium sulfonates, some of the most common types of surfactants used in conventional laundry detergents, release carcinogenic and reproductive toxins into the environment during the production process. Other types of phenols commonly used as surfactants are toxic to the central nervous system, heart, blood vessels, lungs and kidneys.
Optical brighteners: these chemicals don’t actually make your clothes cleaner but create an optical illusion making them appear brighter to the eye. They are toxic to fish and cause bacterial mutations. They can also trigger allergic reactions in skin that is later exposed to sunlight.
Bleach (sodium hypochlorite): when bleach comes into contact with organic compounds, it can release carcinogenic and toxic compounds that are linked to reproductive, endocrine and immune system disorders.
Petroleum distillates: this broad category of chemicals includes anything produced during the petroleum refining process. In other words, your conventional laundry detergent very likely has oil in it. Petroleum distillates are linked with cancer, lung inflammation damage to the lungs and mucous membranes.
Phosphates: many laundry detergents use phosphates to remove hard water minerals and prevent dirt from resettling on clothes during the wash. Phosphates are banned or restricted in many states because they contribute to marine plant overgrowth and unbalanced ecosystems.
EDTA (ethylene-diamino-tetra-acetate): as an alternative to phosphates, EDTA isn’t much better for the environment and your health. It is slow to biodegrade and re-dissolves heavy toxic metals, which then enter the food chain.
It is no wonder that as more consumers are becoming educated about what types of chemicals are in their everyday laundry detergent, they are look for more natural but still effective alternatives. EcoLogical Surfactants offers products with USDA certified organic compliant ingredients. This means that they are biodegradable, won’t harm the environment and are safe for you and your family to use every day. The Berry Saponin Concentrate™ used in our laundry detergent products will effectively get your laundry clean without a trace of harmful chemicals.