Learn which laundry chemicals could put your health at risk.
By Sarah Lozanova
The chart below will help you identify and avoid harmful ingredients found in many laundry products. Learn more about keeping your laundry room healthy in "Toxic Laundry Detergent Ingredients to Avoid."
|Ingredient to Avoid||Found In||Potential Health Risks|
|Benzaldehyde||Laundry bleach, perfumes||Irritation to mouth, throat, eyes and skin|
|Ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid||Fabric softener||Reproductive and developmental effects in animal studies|
|Artificial fragrances||Laundry detergent, dryer sheets, fabric softener||Irritation to skin and eyes; many are toxic and are
|Diethanolamine||Detergent||Irritation to skin and eyes; linked to liver and kidney tumors
and developmental and reproductive toxicity in animal studies
|Quaternium-15||Detergent||Releases formaldehyde, a known carcinogen that causes
rashes and skin inflammation
|2-Butoxyethanol||Dry cleaning chemical, stain removers||Birth defects and reproductive and developmental effects
in animal studies; carcinogen
|Chlorine||Laundry bleach||Potent irritant to eyes, upper respiratory tract and lungs|
|Perchlorethylene (Perc)||Dry cleaning chemical||Liver and kidney damage; irritant; possible carcinogen|
|Ethyl acetate||Fabric softener||Neurotoxin; irritant|
|Nonylphenol ethoxylate||Laundry detergent, dry cleaning aids||Hormone disruptor|
|ER, KSN, OB, OB-1||Common trade names for optical brighteners||Possible developmental and reproductive effects|
|Linear alkyl sodium sulfonates
|Detergent||Skin and eye irritant; can be toxic to aquatic life; can
produce toxic fumes during production
(also called naphthas)
|Detergent||Chemicals linked to cancer and lung damage|
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