Have you ever stopped to wonder what’s inside your laundry detergent? And what those ingredients might be doing to your body? It turns out that our laundry detergents are so bad for us that we would be better off wearing dirty clothes!
If you are suffering from any of the following symptoms, even though you eat well and follow healthy habits, you should think about changing laundry detergents:
Skin irritations, eye irritations, difficulty breathing, asthma, hormonal imbalances, dermatitis, persistent scratchy pain in your throat or nose, cancer, disruption of the endocrine system (The endocrine system is the collection of glands that produce hormones that regulate metabolism, growth and development, tissue function, sexual function, reproduction, sleep, and mood, among other things).
All of these symptoms are linked to the chemicals found in many commercial laundry detergents.
(These symptoms affect your children too, and they are not always able to verbalize to you how they are feeling! So if you have a constantly irritable child you should consider the possibility of irritations caused by laundry detergent.)
Research was done in 2008 and again in 2011 by scientists at the University of Washington which looked at the chemicals found in laundry detergents and drier sheets. Most of the chemicals that were found to be in laundry detergent were not even listed on the packaging.
All that most of the labels tell you is that they should be kept out of reach of children, contain harmful substances, and should be kept away from the eyes, not breathed in and not be ingested. Furthermore they suggest contacting the poison control centre should you accidentally swallow their laundry detergent.
Now already your warning bells should be ringing. If something is so poisonous surely you shouldn’t even have it in your home?
What’s inside your laundry detergent?
Let’s take a look at what they found inside laundry detergent and what those things do to the human body.
1.4 dioxane–a well-known cancer causing bi-product of synthetic petrochemical surfactant Ethox. This chemical is associated with respiratory disease, nervous system toxicity, brain toxicity, liver and kidney disease.
SLS (Sodium Laurel Sulfate) – this chemical is used to make lots of foam in your laundry. SLS is linked to cancer and causes poisoning of your entire system.
Ammonia – Ammonia is used for cutting grease. It causes serious damage to human lungs and eyes. Ammonia is linked to cataracts and corneal damage.
Bleach – Everyone is aware of its stain removal abilities. But did you know that bleach is highly corrosive and can cause serious health problems? Bleach causes skin irritations and in sensitivity. In high doses it can actually burn your skin. It is also very irritating to your eyes, lungs and soft tissues (delicate areas). Breathing in straight bleach fumes can burn your lungs and throat.
Phosphates – Phosphates help to remove tough stains, but unfortunately nothing removes phosphates, not even from water plants. That means that the phosphates in your detergent will end up in your tap water. They cause skin irritations, diarrhoea and nausea.
NPE (NonylphenolEthoxylate) – This chemical is so bad for your kidneys and liver that it has been banned in Europe and Canada. Many chain stores have asked their suppliers to stop using this chemical – but it is still found in many laundry detergents because it is a cleaning agent.
Diethanolamine – Another cleaning agent.Diethanolamine is associated with liver problems, skin irritations and causing eye irritations.
polyalkylene oxide or ethylene oxide – These are stabilizers that keep the product in its intended form on the shelf. They are known to cause dermatitis, respiratory problems and eye irritations.
Naphthotriazolystilbenes and benzoxazolyl, diaminostilbenedisulfonate – These are brighteners that stay in your clothes after they are dried and actually absorb UV light to make clothes look brighter. They are linked with causing damage to your reproductive system, as well as to developmental problems in growing children.
The above is a selection of the more dangerous additives in most laundry detergents. There are many more.
Itching skin and laundry detergents
As you will see above the most common health problems caused by the toxic ingredients in laundry detergents are eye irritations, respiratory problems and… skin irritations.
The Skin irritations can be seen in different forms. It could be a rash, redness, blisters, burn-like welts or just a colorless itching. It could be anything from uncomfortable to outright painful.
Perhaps you have a small child who is constantly irritable and you don’t know why. It could be that their skin is itching and sensitive and they don’t know how to express themselves to tell you!
The itchiness is caused by the chemicals that are left behind in your clothes after they have been rinsed and dried. The residue sits in your clothing. That means, unless you are walking around naked, that it lies against your skin all the time! Your skin is permeable (it can absorb chemicals and oxygen), so anything that is in contact with it for prolonged periods of time will end up being absorbed into your body.
As you can see above the main itchiness causing agents are bleach, phosphates, brighteners, Diethanolamine, polyalkylene oxide or ethylene oxide, polyalkylene oxide or ethylene oxide.
The easy way to spot these ingredients (Which don’t legally have to be listed) is to look for these key words on the label: Brightener, stabilizer, softening agents, fragrance and whitening. If your shop –bought laundry detergents have any of these words on the label they probably contain a plethora of unpronounceable chemicals that are harming your health.
Also look out for the words “keep out of reach of children” and “Do not ingest” or “if swallowed contact your poison control centre”. These are sure signs that your detergent is packed with harmful chemicals that will make you itchy at best.
In the worst case scenario they could cause you kidney problems, liver problems, eye and vision problems, cancer, reproduction problems and stunt the development of your children!
Alternatives to Laundry Detergent
So now that you know what’s inside those strong smelling detergents, what can you do to avoid them? Here are some alternatives and common sense measures to Laundry detergent:
- Wash your clothing only when it’s actually dirty. So often we drop our clothes in the laundry basket at the end of the day when they are not really soiled or sweaty. You can minimize on your detergent use save water and electricity (and money) by re-wearing clothes that are not soiled.
- Make your own detergents. You can use pure soap (without petroleum bi-products in it) to clean your clothes.
- Use essential oils to make them smell nice. Make sure that you read up on your oils too. They can be used to treat skin ailments instead of causing them if you use the correct ones!
- Buy a safe, health conscious brand of laundry detergent.
- Use baking soda as a natural brightening agent.
- Forget the fabric softeners and drier sheets. Instead think about slowly investing in cotton and natural fiber clothing that doesn’t need them.
With so many easy, cost effective ways to get your laundry clean safely can you really afford to risk your health by using shop bought, mass-produced chemical laundry detergents?
In today’s toxic world, it is important to protect ourselves from these deadly chemicals and toxins. Go to the next page and learn more about the immune boosting nutrient that we have been throwing into trash.
About the Author:
Emma Deangela is the best selling author of The Alkaline Diet Program and 80/20 Fat Loss. She has helped over tens of thousands of men and women to lose weight and transform their health with sound nutrition advice. Check out her 4 foods to never eat for breakfast video to lose more than 18 lbs in 3 weeks.
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