New York’s recent laundry detergent ban brings attention to an important health concern. Over 60% of all laundry detergents contain toxic ingredients. Most contain a combination of bleaching agents, sulfates, sulphates, nonylphenol ethoxylate, anionic surfactants, dye preservatives, and artificial fragrance. The way we use these detergents makes it easy for the toxic ingredients to negatively affect our health.
Laundry Detergent Health Hazards
During washing, some of these toxins become airborne and are absorbed through our respiratory systems. Residue that remains in the washed garments is absorbed through our skin due to sustained close contact. The resulting problems can range from eye and respiratory irritation to kidney or liver disease and even cancer.
And the detergent chemicals that are rinsed from your clothes don’t just disappear. They can contaminate the environment and waterways. This is one of New York’s biggest reasonings in limiting the amount of 1,4-dioxane that a laundry detergent may contain (no more than two parts per million). Because 1,4-dioxane is a byproduct of the chemical processes in making detergents, and not an ingredient, it isn’t always listed on the label. Consumers then don’t realize that they are being exposed to this carcinogen.
As a result of the new legislation, many big brands have had to adapt their formulas in order to stay on store shelves. These include Arm & Hammer, Tide, and Gain, among others. It is important to note that despite being aware that some of their detergents contained more than 2 PPM of this toxin, they did not feel obligated to make changes until faced with the threat of being banned from sale throughout an entire state. Unsafe amounts of 1,4-dioxane remain in many of our cleaning products and cosmetics.
According to the Green Science Policy Institute, “it’s still best to use detergents likely to be free from 1,4-dioxane for reducing both personal exposure and the overall amount of this contaminant getting into our wastewater.”
Since 1,4-dioxane isn’t always listed as an ingredient, it may be valuable to know that certain other ingredients hint toward its presence, including: polyethylene glycol (PEG), polysorbates, or sodium laureth sulfate. If your detergent contains these, it probably has 1,4 dioxane too.
Consider These Approved Laundry Detergents
When in doubt, the safest approach is to select laundry products from companies with a strong reputation for using simple ingredients and whome are committed to internal oversight. Here is a list of detergents that earned an A from the EWG:
- Attitude (Sensitive Skin)
- Better Life (Unscented)
- Common Good (Unscented)
- Country Save (Powder)
- Bronner's (Baby, Unscented)
- Dropps Active (Pods, Unscented)
- Earthley (Unscented)
- Greenshield (Free & Clear)
- Hello Bello (Organic, Unscented)
- Ingredients Matter (Fragrance-Free)
- Lazy Coconuts (Strips, Original)
- Lion Bear Naked Soap Co. (Unscented)
- Martha Stewart Clean
- Meliora (Powder, Unscented)
- PUR Home (Free & Clear)
- Sensitive Home (Free & Clear)
- Seventh Generation (Tablets, Fragrance Free)
- Simple Truth (Organic, Free & Clear)
- Whoa Nelli (Unscented)
- Whole Foods Market (Baby, Unscented)
Avoid These Toxic Laundry Detergents
Below is a general list of detergents to avoid. All of these received an F rating from the Environmental Working Group (EWG), a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to product awareness and promoting better health.
- Ultra Purex (Original Fresh)
- Woolite Everyday (Sparkling Falls)
- Babyganics (3x, Fragrance Free)
- Ajax (Original, 2X Ultra)
- Tide (Original, Plus Bleach Alternative)
- Fab Ultra (Spring Magic)
- Cheer (Cheer Bright Clean)
- Persil (Porclean Power, Sensitive Skin
- Xtra Scentsations (Summer Fiesta)
- Up & Up (Lavender)
- Arm & Hammer (Plus OxiClean)
- Wisk (High-Efficiency)
- Era (2X Ultra)
- Ivory (Ultra-Snow)
- Caldrea (Sandalwood)
- All (2x Ultra Stainlifter)
- Safeway Ultra (Pacs, Free & Clear)
For personalize guidance to protect your health and improve your energy, schedule a phone consultation with Rose Boghos, Intuitive Lifestyle Practitioner, Whole Health Educator, and Reiki Master Teacher.
*This blog contains Amazon affiliate links. The owner of this site may receive a small commission if you click a link and make a recommended purchase.
What To Remember
Most laundry detergents contain toxic compounds that could harm your health.
Not all of the toxins are listed directly on the label.
Choose detergents from trusted brands with a good reputation. Reference the Environmental Working Group’s rating when in doubt.
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