Dryer Emission Blues

In the Spring, we want to throw our windows wide and let the freshness in. We may be unpleasantly surprised though by chemical odors wafting into our homes from clothes dryer emissions. Admittedly, there are those among us who enjoy chemical fragrances but many don’t. Aside from aesthetic considerations, neighbourhood dryer emissions are far from harmless.

According to Dr. Anne Steinemann’s newest study, Volatile Emissions from Common Consumer Products (http://www.drsteinemann.com/publications.html), the major difference between scented and non-scented versions of the same products is the presence of an abundance of terpenes in the scented products.

Terpenes react with ozone to create dangerous secondary pollutants which can cause cancer. They can also irritate eyes, skin, sinuses and lungs, induce or aggravate heart and lung disease, raise blood pressure, cause inflammation, etc. Dr. Steinemann notes that cancer-causing emissions from “green” scented products are not much different from those emitted by regular scented products (p. 2).

Switching to unscented laundry products will not only help reduce air pollution in your neighbourhood, it is also the considerate thing to do for your neighbours. If you wish to learn which laundry products are safest, check out the Guide to Less Toxic Products (http://lesstoxicguide.ca/), Skin Deep Cosmetics Database (http://www.ewg.org/skindeep/) and the Environmental Working Groups’ Guide to Healthy Cleaning (http://www.ewg.org/guides/cleaners).

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