There is something wonderful about pulling a t-shirt on after it has come straight out of the dryer. It is warm, soft, and smells lovely. These fabulous features come from the little dryer sheets thrown in before the dryer cycle begins, but along with the pros of comfy clothes and clean scents comes a whole list of cons in the form of chemicals, all of which can cause serious illnesses for those coming in contact with them.
Chemicals and Their Harmful Effects
Unlike food items, there is no regulations that require manufacturers to list what ingredients are used to make the dryer sheets, which is why so many people continue to use them. They are unaware just how harmful these sweet-smelling sheets can be, but the list of awful chemicals used to make them has the ability to change even the most doubtful mind.
Chloroform – This is an anesthetic, a neurotoxin, and a carcinogenic. It can cause nausea and vomiting, headaches, dizziness or drowsiness, and loss of consciousness.
Benzyl Alcohol – This chemical causes damage to the upper respiratory tract and also cause disorders in the central nervous system, as well as nausea and vomiting, headaches, dizziness, and can drastically lower blood pressure.
Pentane – This can be extremely harmful if it is inhaled, causing nausea, dizziness or drowsiness, headaches, and depression.
Benzyl Acetate – This chemical has been linked to pancreatic cancer.
Ethyl Acetate – This is a narcotic that is listed on the EPA’s Hazardous Waste list, and is also known to cause headaches.
Ethanol – This one is also on the EPA’s Hazardous Waste list, and is linked to disorders of the central nervous system.
Linalool – This is a narcotic, and has been linked to central nervous system disorders, brain disorders, a loss of muscle coordination, as well as depression.
Alpha-Terpineol – This chemical can cause brain disorders, central nervous system disorders, respiratory issues, loss of muscle control, headaches, and depression.
Camphor – This can cause disorders of the central nervous system.
Limonene – This is a known carcinogen.
Other Harmful Side Effects
As if these chemicals are not bad enough, the manufacturers of the dryer sheets use an unseemly amount of artificial fragrances. This is a necessary step to them, because the chemicals listed above are quite odorous, and no one would use them if left as they are. Unfortunately, the fragrances are no better than the chemicals they are disguising. In fact, they are loaded with carcinogens, and because the chemicals as well as the fragrances stay on the clothes long after they are removed from the dryer, they can be absorbed by the body or inhaled for an extended period of time. This long-term exposure can lead to many of the side effects listed above, as well as skin irritation, fatigue, liver damage, and cancer.
The best way to avoid these harmful effects is to immediately discontinue use of dryer sheets, unless they are a natural brand that contains no chemicals whatsoever. Another option is to use wool dryer balls, which can rid clothing of static and wrinkles, as well as making them feel softer. And best of all, they are completely natural.