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Fabric Softener Linked to Cancer

Written by andy

Could soft clothing be a danger to your health?

Who doesn’t like to have nice soft clothes fresh from the dryer? There’s nothing quite like pulling out a clean shirt from your drawer and smelling the beautiful, floral scent of washed laundry! Fabric softener can not only help your clothes to smell good, but it can actually help to make your clothes just that little bit more comfortable. We know that laundry detergent can be a danger, but what if fabric softener was also a hazard to your health?

The Cancer in Your Fabric Softener

You may think of fabric softener as being a gentle, beautiful liquid that makes your clothes smell like clouds, but do you have any idea what’s in the stuff? You’d be amazed to find that it can be A LOT less healthy than you’d think!

Check out some of the stuff that’s in your fabric softener–both liquids and sheets:

  1. A-Terpineol — This chemical has been linked to problems like Alzheimer’s, ADD, dementia, Parkinson’s, seizures, and even SIDS. It is known to increase your risk of Central Nervous System disorders, and can cause respiratory health problems if inhaled.
  2. Chloroform — Did you know that this stuff is on the EPA’s Hazardous Waste list? If you inhale the stuff, it can cause drowsiness, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, headaches, and even a loss of consciousness. It can cause kidney, heart, and liver disorders to worsen, and adding heat into the mix just makes the chloroform even MORE dangerous!
  3. Ethanol — This fabric softening agent is also linked to Central Nervous System (CNS) disorders, and has found its way onto the EPA’s list of Hazardous Waste as well.
  4. Benzyl Alcohol — If you inhale this stuff, it can irritate your upper respiratory system. It can also lead to headache, nausea, a number of CNS disorders, vomiting, dizziness, and even serious drops in your blood pressure.
  5. Pentane — Inhale this stuff, and it can do serious harm to your body.

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  1. Benzyl Acetate — This is one of fabric softener’s links to cancer, as inhaling this chemical has been known to cause pancreatic cancer. It can also irritate your eyes, as well as your respiratory  system. Worst of all, it can be absorbed through your skin, so it can cause problems even if you’re not inhaling the stuff!
  2. Phthalates — If you’re worried about cancer, this is one of the things to take extra precautions against. Phthalates have been linked to a number of serious health problems, including breast cancer and reproductive health issues. It’s found in the stuff that gives your fabric softeners their scent.
  3. Limonene — This chemical is a known carcinogen that has been linked to a number of types of cancer forming, and it can serious irritate both your skin and your eyes.

Here’s the awful truth: the companies that produce fabric softener know just how dangerous it can be! It’s why there’s a warning on every bottle of the stuff to NOT use it on child’s sleepwear, as that’s when the child can be exposed to high doses of the chemicals used to make the fabric softener.

Want to have soft clothes without all the chemicals? Try these tricks:

  • Put ¼ cup of baking soda in the washing machine during the wash cycle.
  • Throw in ¼ cup of vinegar during the wash cycle to soften clothes and reduce static cling.
  • Look for a natural fabric softener, made with natural ingredients instead of chemicals.

Your clothes shouldn’t be another threat to your wellbeing, so it’s time to realize that using fabric softener can be increasing your risk of serious health problems!

About the author


Some people get lucky and are born with fit, toned bodies. Andy Peloquin is not one of those people... Fitness has come hard for him, and he's had to work for it. His trials have led him to becoming a martial artist, an NFPT-certified fitness trainer, and a man passionate about exercise, diet and healthy living. He loves to exercise--he does so six days a week--and loves to share his passion for fitness and health with others.

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