Wait a minute—how do dryer sheets do that?Mmm, the fresh scent of laundry that's been dried with dryer sheets.
Unfortunately, dryer sheets can contain some harmful chemicals—including hidden fragrance chemicals that lots of people are sensitive to—that vent off into the air we breath and rub off on our clothes and then onto our skin. Yikes! And the kicker is that dryer sheets aren't even necessary to our laundry—so they're just an extra source of exposure to toxic chemicals.
Dryer sheets are relatively simple products, generally made of a polyester sheet that's been covered in a fabric softener chemical and, usually, fragrance chemicals. The amount of fragrance used in dryer sheets can be significant, representing up to 10 percent of the contents of the product. These chemicals rub off the dryer sheet and coat your clothing in a slimy layer that has the effect of making your clothes feel softer.
Recent tests of chemicals emitted from dryer sheets indicate the following chemicals are commonly emitted from popular dryer sheets. Many of these chemicals can also be found in the air emissions from dryer vents. Some of these chemicals are linked to serious health problems.
Fragrances can include tens to hundreds of different chemicals, some of which are toxic, and many of which are known allergens, like limonene and linalool. All fragrance chemicals are usually kept secret from consumers. Dryer sheets can contain volatile organic compounds like acetaldehyde and butane, which can cause respiratory irritation. Quats, a fabric softener chemical, is often part of a family of chemicals called quaternary ammonium compounds, many of which are linked to asthma. Acetone, used in dryer sheets, can cause nervous system effects like headaches or dizziness.
Not surprisingly, when asked, survey respondents frequently report adverse health effects from exposure to dryer vents. One study found nearly 11 percent of the respondents reported irritation from exposure to emissions from dryer vents vented outside. Nearly 40 percent of respondents who indicated that they were “chemically sensitive" reported irritation from dryer vent emissions.
Dryer sheets are single-use—which means that we're throwing them away after each round of laundry. Chemicals from dryer sheets can build up and clog your dryer's lint screen, making your dryer a lot less efficient. And, dryer sheets are totally unnecessary for actually making our clothes cleaner—we don't really need them, and so they're an easily-preventable source of exposure to toxic chemicals.
Women have tons of consumer power when it comes to demanding safe products. We make almost 85 percent of consumer decisions in the average home. This means that companies pay a lot of attention to what we buy—and what we don't buy. When we band together to stop buying a toxic product, we can have a huge impact on making the marketplace that much safer.
What's the alternative to toxic dryer sheets? You guessed it: wool balls. (Okay, maybe you didn't guess that). Dryer balls don't contain toxic chemicals, they last for thousands of loads, get rid of static cling and wrinkles, soften clothes, and they actually save time and energy by cutting down on drying time. Another alternative is throwing an old sweater in with your laundry to decrease drying time and reduce static.
Exercise your consumer power. Join women all over the country in taking the Ditch the Dryer Sheets pledge. This is one unnecessary, toxic product that you can feel good about not spending your money on.
New Zealand could be the first country in the world to require its major financial institutions to report on the risks posed by the climate crisis.
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By Brett Wilkins
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the meatpacking industry worked together to downplay and disregard risks to worker health during the Covid-19 pandemic, as shown in documents published Monday by Public Citizen and American Oversight.
<div id="13077" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="11b9fe5ff48ebc437353df6df9c2c892"><blockquote class="twitter-tweet twitter-custom-tweet" data-twitter-tweet-id="1305915938148147205" data-partner="rebelmouse"><div style="margin:1em 0">Just a week before the Trump administration issued an executive order aimed at keeping meat packing plants open, th… https://t.co/DkbXgPm4YR</div> — ProPublica (@ProPublica)<a href="https://twitter.com/propublica/statuses/1305915938148147205">1600189597.0</a></blockquote></div>
<div id="36e4c" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="e7c8048c2755109629a3b3072fcb3261"><blockquote class="twitter-tweet twitter-custom-tweet" data-twitter-tweet-id="1304424041814593539" data-partner="rebelmouse"><div style="margin:1em 0">Meatpacking union @UFCW, which reps workers at this plant (four of whom died), slams OSHA for the small $13k fine a… https://t.co/tnhfKd89ab</div> — Dave Jamieson (@Dave Jamieson)<a href="https://twitter.com/jamieson/statuses/1304424041814593539">1599833901.0</a></blockquote></div><p>The United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) International Union, which represents Smithfield Foods workers, <a href="https://www.argusleader.com/story/news/crime/2020/09/10/osha-fines-smithfield-foods-sioux-falls-south-dakota/5768786002/?eType=EmailBlastContent&eId=f7bf3f03-ce98-4df4-9c45-f44d9a6a5890" target="_blank">slammed</a> the fine as "insulting and a slap on the wrist."</p><p>"How much is the health, safety, and life of an essential worker worth? Based on the actions of the Trump administration, clearly not much," said UFCW president Marc Perrone.</p><p>"This so-called 'fine' is a slap on the wrist for Smithfield, and a slap in the face of the thousands of American meatpacking workers who have been putting their lives on the line to help feed America since the beginning of this pandemic," Perrone added. </p><p>Other critics, including vegans, vegetarians, and animal rights and environmental advocates argued that the accelerated spread of Covid-19 from meatpacking facilities is but the latest compelling argument in favor of reducing—or eliminating—meat consumption.</p><p>"We know that Covid-19 originated in a meat market and that previous influenza viruses originated in pigs and chickens," People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) <a href="https://www.peta.org/blog/meat-shortage-slaugherhouses-go-vegan/" target="_blank">said</a> in April amid news that a Foster Farms slaughterhouse in Livingston, California was <a href="https://www.peta.org/blog/coronavirus-covid-19-slaughterhouse-meat-concerns/?utm_source=PETA::Twitter&utm_medium=Social&utm_campaign=0420::veg::PETA::Twitter::Workers%20Blame%20Major%20Pig%20Slaughterhouse%20600%20Infected%20COVID-19::::tweet" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">ordered closed</a> by local health authorities due to a Covid-19 outbreak that killed eight employees.</p>
<div id="28490" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="48ddd3480a2beb42597d9516ef652f0f"><blockquote class="twitter-tweet twitter-custom-tweet" data-twitter-tweet-id="1252416495990140929" data-partner="rebelmouse"><div style="margin:1em 0">THIS IS OUTRAGEOUS! @SmithfieldFoods allegedly took NO PRECAUTIONS to protect the safety of its workers, leaving o… https://t.co/viAJ026pLy</div> — PETA (@PETA)<a href="https://twitter.com/peta/statuses/1252416495990140929">1587434336.0</a></blockquote></div><p>"It's not a matter of <em>whether</em> using and killing animals for food will give rise to another disease outbreak—it's a matter of <em>when</em>," said PETA. "There has never been a better, more obvious time for businesses to put an end to their dirty trade of slaughtering animals for their flesh." </p>
By Andrea Willige
More than half of the world's population lives in cities, and most future population growth is predicted to happen in urban areas. But the concentration of large numbers of people and the ecosystems built around their lives has also been a driver of climate change.