It’s time for my monthly Stupid Plastic Crap nominee. This month’s product came from my recent interest in green cleaning products. I thought about nominating the Banana Bunker but I think banana plastic crap is too easy to make fun of. The Banana Bunker is a flexible, plastic device that prevents your bananas from being bruised. There is something about the good old banana! The real Stupid Plastic Crap item of March is dryer sheets. I was surprised by how much information is out there on the toxicity of dryer sheets . The artificial fragrances in them are suspected carcinogens. Look at this list of problem compounds that are commonly found on dryer sheets. I got this from CARE2 by Annie B. Bond.
* Benzyl acetate: Linked to pancreatic cancer. * Benzyl Alcohol: Upper respiratory tract irritant. * Ethanol: On the EPA’s Hazardous Waste list and can cause central nervous system disorders. * Limonene: Suspected Gastrointestinal or Liver Toxicant, Immunotoxicant, Kidney Toxicant, Neurotoxicant, Respiratory Toxicant, and Skin or Sense Organ Toxicant. * A-Terpineol: Can cause respiratory problems, including fatal edema, and central nervous system damage. * Ethyl Acetate: A narcotic on the EPA’s Hazardous Waste list. * Camphor: Causes central nervous system disorders. * Chloroform: Neurotoxic, anesthetic and carcinogenic. * Linalool: A narcotic that causes central nervous system disorders. * Pentane: A chemical known to be harmful if inhaled.
A minor problem (compared with health concerns) is that they clog your dryer filter. The chemicals that are in dryer sheets are designed to get into the fabric of your clothes and remain there, releasing their fragrance all day. They also get into the filter and slowly fill the holes up until it is clogged.
Planet Green suggests putting some dry lavender blooms in a sachet bag with your clothes if you want a nice aroma. They also suggest adding 1/2 cup white vinegar to the wash cycle to soften your clothes. I have heard that separating natural fibers from synthetic fibers to dry separately will help with static cling.
I did not come across anything good about dryer sheets. The chemicals in them harm the environment and are a danger to the health of anyone who wears clothes that have been dried with dryer sheets. Hang your clothes outside to dry if possible. Otherwise there are green ways to soften your laundry.