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The problem with fabric softener

It’s always a red flag for me when I read an ingredients label and it contains warnings such as ‘Use only in well ventilated room’, ‘Harmful if swallowed’ and ‘Seek poisons advice’.

Most brands of fabric softener contain harmful chemicals, although this is one product where a full ingredients listing is not a packaging requirement.

So that seemingly harmless capful that you pop into the wash, mostly for fragrance and anti static properties, may also contain harmful chemicals such as Alpha-Terpineol, Benzyl Acetate, Benzyl Alcohol, Camphor, Chloroform, Ethyl Acetate, Limonene, Linalool and Pentane.

Neurotoxic, narcotic, damage to Central Nervous System, skin irritations, carcinogenic ‚Äì these are just some of the harmful effects of these chemicals for our body. And we don’t have to ingest fabric softener to be effected. The vapours from the product in the bottle are one way we are exposed, but perhaps more problematic is that they are released in to the air when we put fabric softener treated clothes into a dryer, and that as we wear these clothes the natural heat from our body causes them to be released onto our skin and into the immediate air we breathe. A few drops of your favourite essential oil in your final rinse water is worth a try for a healthy fragrance, and static cling can be over come by line drying and applying a chemical-free moisturiser to the body before dressing.

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Lindy Schneider is a writer and researcher with a keen interest in health, wellbeing and natural childcare. She is an advocator of a chemical-free lifestyle in the best interests of her family, the community and a sustainable world.

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