Toxic laundry detergents contain a variety of chemicals that
are allergens, carcinogens and endocrine disruptors. These toxic chemicals
perform different functions.
Surfactants are the active cleaning agents in detergents. They are usually
derived from petrochemicals. Many are endocrine disruptors.
Builders enhance the action of surfactants. Some builders kill cells and
Antimicrobial agents disinfect or sanitize your laundry. They include quaternary
ammonium chlorides (releases formaldehyde), triclocarbon and triclosan
Optical brighteners (blue and white fluorescent dyes) give the illusion
that your clothes are cleaner. They leave a residue on your clothes that
reflect light and make clothes look brighter, with more vivid colors. Some
classes of optical brighteners have developmental and reproductive effects.
Preservatives prevent detergent spoilage during storage. Generally,
preservatives are only required in laundry liquids. Preservatives like
glutaraldehyde and EDTA are linked to asthma and allergies), formaldehyde or
formalin is a known carcinogen and BHT is a probable carcinogen.
Fragrances are added to cover up the smell of detergent
chemicals and make your clothes smell good. Some of the chemicals in detergent become airborne when
washing, drying and wearing your clothes. And detergents with fragrance release
the most chemicals into the air, an average of 17 different ones. The most common chemicals emitted
included terpenes like d-limonene, lilial, α-pinene, which are allergens
and react with air pollutants to create formaldehyde.
Non Toxic laundry detergent uses safer surfactants, preservatives and
builders. Generally, unscented powders are the safest because no preservatives
are needed. Non Toxic laundry detergents are also easy to make.
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