Thursday, April 2, 2015

TBT -- Before you do your next load of laundry...

I was recently exposed to fabric softener and am now experiencing the negative effects. Because of my extreme chemical sensitivity, fabric softener is one of the products that will trigger my Epstein Barr Virus Syndrome and fibromyalgia. It got me good this time. So for Throwback Thursday, I'm revisiting a post from 2010 about the dangers of fabric softener. If you're still using it, I hope you will read this and consider the toxins you're dealing with.


Today’s riddle: What do the following CNS disorders have in common?

  • Alzheimer's Disease
  • Attention Deficit Disorder
  • Dementia
  • Multiple Chemical Sensitivity
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Parkinson's Disease
  • Seizures
  • Strokes
  • SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome)
You're not ready for this. The common denominator here is Fabric Softener. Yes, like the stuff that snuggly little bear pitches. Fabric softener. The information I'm about to share is enough to make me want to hit the rewind button and remove every last fabric softener sheet from my endless loads of laundry. Fabric softener.

When using dryer sheets, remember that they coat the inside of your dryer. Even if you don't use them every time, every item of laundry dried in your dryer will end up with fabric softener residue.

Here's the list of chemicals found in most fabric softeners, followed by the disorders and diseases linked to them. You'll notice there's more than just the CNS disorders listed above.

  • Alpha-Terpineol -- look at the list above and then this list of symptoms with a direct link:
    • "Aspiration into the lungs can produce pneumonitis or even fatal edema."
    • "Excitement, ataxia (loss of muscular coordination), hypothermia, CNS and respiratory depression, and headache."
    • "Prevent repeated or prolonged skin contact."
  • Benzyl Acetate -- in addition to a link to pancreatic cancer:
    • "From vapors: irritating to eyes and respiratory passages, exciting cough."
    • Can be absorbed through the skin causing systemic effects."
    • "Do not flush to sewer."
  • Benzyl Alcohol -- again we're seeing CNS disorders:
    • "Irritating to the upper respiratory tract."
    • "Headache, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, drop in blood pressure, CNS depression, and death in severe cases of respiratory failure."
  • Camphor -- CNS disorders. This one's on the EPA's Hazardous Waste list and there are warnings to avoid inhaling the vapors. Here is a list of symptoms caused by exposure to camphor:
    • "Local irritant and CNS stimulant."
    • "Readily absorbed through body tissues."
    • "Irritation of eyes, nose, and throat."
    • "Dizziness, confusion, nausea, twitching muscles and convulsions."
  • Chloroform -- This, too, is on the EPA's Hazardous Waste list. It is important to avoid inhaling the vapors which can lead to headache, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, drowsiness, irritation of respiratory tract and loss of consciousness.
    • Neurotoxic
    • Anesthetic
    • Carcinogenic
    • "Avoid contact with eyes, skin, clothing. (We're talking fabric softener, here, remember!)
    • "Inhalation can be fatal."
    • "Chronic effects of overexposure may include kidney and/or liver damage."
    • "Medical conditions generally aggravated by exposure: kidney disorders, liver disorders, heart disorders, skin disorders."
    • "Conditions to avoid: Heat!"
  • Ethyl Acetate -- Another one that made the EPA's list. This is a narcotic that
    • "is irritating to the eyes and respiratory tract."
    • "may cause headache and nocosis (stupor)."
    • "may cause anemia with leukocytosis and damage to liver and kidneys."
    • "Wash thoroughly after handling."
  • Limonene -- Another carcinogenic substance.
    • "Prevent its contact with skin or eyes because it is an irritant and sensitizer."
    • "Always wash thoroughly after using this material and before eating, drinking...applying cosmetics."
    • "Do not inhale limonene vapor."
  • Linalool -- This narcotic is linked to CNS disorders.
    • "Respiratory disturbances."
    • "Attracts bees."
  • Pentane -- "Danger -- Harmful if inhaled...Avoid breathing vapor." Wonderful...
    • "Inhalation of vapors may cause headache, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, drowsiness, irritatin of respiratory tract and loss of consciousness. Repeated inhalation of vapors may cause CNS depression."
    • "Contact can cause eye irritation."
    • "Prolonged exposure may cause dermatitis (skin rash)."
  • CNS -- exposure symptoms include:
    • aphasia
    • blurred vision
    • disorientation
    • dizziness
    • headaches
    • hunger
    • memory loss
    • numbness in face
    • pain in neck and spine
Are you feeling sick yet? I sure am. Click here for suggestions on what you can do.

Keeping you informed,


Information based on documents from the Environmental Health Network.


  1. This was definitely eye-opening. Many of us have been using these products for years without thinking about the possible consequences.

    1. I know. As of 6 years ago or so, I was still using them. It's hard to imagine now!


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