What is the difference between sparkling white paper towels and naturally brown paper towels? The white paper is bleached using chlorine – a process that is dangerous to both humans and the environment. When products such as paper towels, toilet paper, coffee filters, tea bags, tampons, menstrual pads and diapers are bleached during manufacturing, dioxins are released into the air. Dioxins are extremely dangerous toxins that accumulate in water and are then taken up by animals and humans. The bleach used in these products may leach into the food that you eat.
Bleach is also widely used in flour and sugar. While the health effects of these products is less well known, you can ensure your health by opting for their unbleached varieties. While they should be available in your local market (whole wheat flour is a good bet, and look for “raw” or “unrefined” sugar), there are also a number of online sources.
To avoid potential health complications, which include cancer, birth defects and increased risk of diabetes, and to keep the environment clean, buy nonbleached products. If you’re unsure about making a switch, look for low-impact choices, like coffee filters and tea bags, before moving on to paper towels and other care products.