Monday, September 29, 2008

Do Away With Dryer Sheets

Do you use dryer sheets in your dryer? While this practice may cause your clothing to have a "pleasant" smell or even diminish static cling, there are serious health risks to using these products. Like most detergents, dryer sheets come from non-renewable, petroleum-based products.

Dryer sheets contain phthalates, a common industrial chemical used in PVC, plastics, solvents, and synthetic fragrances. Phthalates are endocrine disruptors which are linked to problems of the reproductive system, including decreased sperm motility and concentration in men and genital abnormalities in baby boys. (As a side note, the average sperm count of a man has decreased significantly since the 1940's.) More recently they've also been linked to asthma and allergies.

It may seem like an impossible thing to do, but try drying your clothes without dryer sheets. Another alternative is to hang your clothing and other articles to dry outside in your yard and let the solar power of the sun dry them. I've personally washed my family's clothing in safe, non-toxic laundry detergent and used no dryer sheets for almost ten years. Our clothes never contain static and have a genuine "clean" smell that is free of chemicals and perfumes. Our culture is so used to having products around to solve all our problems, but what actually ends up occurring is that often these products cause a great deal of problems which outweigh the benefits of using them in the first place.

For more information about phthalates, visit the Environmental Working Group.

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