Ever wonder where the water from a load of laundry goes or even what’s in it? If not, it might be something you’d like to consider in the future. A lot of the detergents, bleaches, and fabric softeners contain synthetic fragrances and chemical whiteners that can threaten the health of your family as well as the environment.
These unnatural substances do not readily biodegrade when released from your home and, as a result, can build up in lakes and streams, disrupting and even poisoning ecosystems, and can eventually find their way into drinking water supplies. According to the EPA, increased exposure to these substances can cause skin and respiratory reactions, or more severe issues like cancer, poisoning and neurological and reproductive problems.
But not to worry, you can make your laundry both family-safe and eco-friendly with just a few easy modifications to your current laundry routine! Try plant based detergents, made from corn, palm kernel, or coconut oil and non-chlorine bleach, made from sodium percarbonate. Check the label on the container the next time you purchase laundry detergent and steer clear of: phosphates, chlorine, and surfactants. Look for products that boast specific qualities like “no phosphates” or “plant-based,” rather than those that use vague terms like “green” or “eco-friendly.”
Many eco-friendly detergents can be found at the same price as conventional detergents. Or, replace the store-bought detergents with natural, homemade concoctions. For example, bleach can be replaced with lemon juice or white vinegar for removing stains. A small change can make a load of a difference.
Did you know that chlorine, a substance commonly used in laundry detergents, can threaten the health of humans and
Chlorine is an extremely harmful and unfortunately popular substance that can create
organochlorines, which are suspected carcinogens, and reproductive, neurological and immune system toxins. Fumes
emitted by chlorine can also damage the earth’s ozone layer.
Did you know that laundry runoff is a
suspected inciter of some cancer-causing substances present in our environment?
The EPA has found high
levels of dioxins in the San Francisco Bay area and partly blames runoff of laundry for this pollution. The toxicity of
dioxin and dioxin-like PCBs is so potent that the minute amount found in the fish can have a hazardous effect on humans that
rely on the bay for food. Studies spanning 1994, 1997, and 2000 showed no change in the level of dioxins, but, with
more and more industries becoming environmentally-conscious, there is hope that these levels will
Did you know that you can make your own safe and effective laundry
To fight stains, mix borax, lemon juice, hydrogen peroxide, or white vinegar with
water. You can also add a quarter cup of baking soda to a wash cycle to replace fabric softener. By using these
natural substances, even just some of the time, you will be decreasing your output of harmful chemicals and, simultaneously,
creating a healthier environment for your family.
Did you know that companies are not required to
disclose the components of their detergents to consumers?
Even if the ingredients are listed, they are
often vague and use general terms to mask the specific chemicals that they use.
Did you know that phosphates, a common component of detergents, have been banned in many states due to harmful
Phosphates are water-softening minerals that are added to detergents to
enhance stain removal. Not only can they cause nausea, vomiting and diarrhea if ingested, they are also extremely
detrimental to the environment. Once they reach waterways, phosphates can bring about the growth of algal blooms that
deplete the available oxygen in the water, killing off other aquatic life. Most mainstream manufactures have stopped
using phosphates, but stay on the safe side and check labels!
1.Green, M.D., Alan. Raising Baby Green: The Earth-Friendly Guide to Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Baby Care. Jossey-Bass. 2007. San Francisco.