Study: Alarming Results Found in Scented Laundry Detergents

Air Quality, Atmosphere, & Health recently published a study concerning air dryer vent emissions. Top selling products were used in the research project including scented laundry detergent and dryer sheets. The main researcher who found carcinogens in the liquid and sheets also led the dryer vent study.

Cancer Causing Concerns

Manufacturers of liquid detergents and dryer sheets are not legally obligated to disclose ingredients used in these specific products (as found in the previous researcher study). Fragrances used in these products, as well as air fresheners, household cleaners and lotions, emit dangerous chemicals the public should be aware of. The findings from the previous study led to the investigation of the current study of dryer vent emissions.

Dryer Vents: The Research Process

New pre-rinsed organic bath towels were purchased for the research. Two volunteer homemakers offered the use of their washers and dryers for the experiment. The inside of the appliances was cleaned with vinegar, and full cycles were used to remove any residue.

A special canister was used to capture the exhaust coming from the dryer vent precisely fifteen minutes into the drying cycle. Two different homes were used during the study at three different times:

  • Using machine with no products
  • Using leading brand of liquid detergent during the wash
  • Using leading brand of liquid detergent during the wash & leading brand scented dryer sheets during dry times

Dryer Vents: The Study Results

Analysis of captured gases found more than twenty-five (25) volatile organic combinations which included seven (7) hazardous pollutants. Two of the chemicals, acetaldehyde, and benzene are grouped as carcinogens by the Environmental Protection Agency.

Interestingly, there are no regulations on dryer vent emission. According to the research study, emission from the dryer vents (using the top five brands of laundry soap detergent) in the Seattle (Washington) area alone would constitute six percent (6%) of automobile emission of acetaldehyde.

Overall Impression

Dryer vent emission can be more easily controlled by adding additional regulation on the manufacturer level. This would more easily lessen air pollution across the states. It is highly recommended (for families) to use non-scented laundry products and household products to lessen this harmful effect. The environment and people’s personal health are at risk.

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