When you think of indoor air pollutants you probably think about mold and secondhand smoke. Most people don’t consider their household appliances as a direct threat to their indoor air quality. The truth is that your clothes dryer is responsible for potentially emitting over 600 VOC’s according to a recent study performed at the University of Washington. The findings from this study may alarm you.
According to published results from this study found at FourWind10.com, researchers aimed to identify chemicals emitted through laundry vents during typical use of the most popular brands of fragranced laundry products. None of these common products listed the dangerous chemicals as ingredients. The most popular brands of dryer sheets and fabric softeners were tested.
The results of the study showed that the following hazardous chemicals were commonly found in commercially available laundry products: methanol, butane, ethanol, acetone, acetaldehyde, carbonyl sulfide, isopropyl alcohol, chloroform, and phosphates just to name a few.
The chemicals listed above have been documented to cause a number of health problems from respiratory distress to cancer. By using dryer sheets and fabric softeners you are introducing these chemicals into your home air.
Ingredient labels can be misleading by containing seemingly harmless terms that do not inform consumers of the hazards associated with them. Labeling on fabric softeners and dryer sheets lists general categories, such as biodegradable surfactants, softeners, or perfume. The real ingredients used in the chemical composition of these household products is alarming.
If you are worried about the chemical pollutants contaminating your home air you should purchase a Home Air test kit to identify the VOCs that are present in your home. A test will help you to identify the presence of any harmful chemicals so that you can find ways to rid your home of these dangerous pollutants.
How can you protect yourself and your household from the dangers of dryer vent emissions?
- Let your clothes air dry. Hanging clothes out to dry on a line not only will provide you with safer indoor air, it will also reduce the amount of electricity that you use. Appliances are huge drains on power.
- Use a homemade fabric softener instead of one that is laced with harmful chemicals. You’ll find that a mixture of vinegar, baking soda, and water should do the trick. Adding essential oils such as lemon will give your clothing a fresh fragrance, but be careful not to use too much since essential oils also contain some hazardous components.
- If you have to use a commercially available product, look for a brand that uses natural ingredients that are safer for you and the environment. Be careful to read labels and pass on any products that use general ingredient categories that do not specifically state the chemicals used since some “green” products contain these hazardous ingredients also.