Your guide to healthy living ...


As with house cleaners and personal care products, chemicals used in laundry detergents and fabric softeners can cause health problems. Bleach is no exception. Seventh Generation, Planet, and other eco-friendly companies offer a natural clothing detergent that works effectively. Dryer sheets contain many carcinogenic ingredients and should not be used. Perchloroethylene (PERC), which is used in dry cleaning, has been known to cause cancer. Some dry cleaners are now offering PERC-free dry cleaning (sometimes marketed as organic dry cleaning).

The fabric itself may also cause problems for those who are more sensitive. Try sticking with natural fabrics like cotton (organic when possible), silk, wool, and linen. Leather is 1 exception which releases formaldehyde due to the tanning process. Most synthetic fabrics such as polyester and rayon will also contain formaldehyde or some other chemical known to cause cancer. In addition, any clothing advertised as flame resistant or wrinkle-free are subjected to dangerous chemicals during the manufacturing process that can affect you - even after many washes.