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Fragranced Laundry Detergents Shown to Be Safe

Written by Jennifer Dublino, on September 12th, 2011

Safe laundryThere has been quite an uproar in the media following the release of a study claiming that fragranced laundry detergents emit dangerous toxins through dryer vents. The research paper was done by University of Washington professor Anne Steinemann and has been spread all over popular media and the Internet in the latest scaremongering sensation.

Fortunately for consumers, however, the study has been found to be seriously flawed. For one thing, it is lacking sufficient detail to reproduce the study, making non-specific generalizations. Some of the missing information is the brands and models of the equipment used, the operational settings, and the controls used.

One of the pollutants cited, benzene, is naturally present in both indoor and outdoor air, but is not used in fragranced products. How then, can those products be the cause of increased levels of benzene? In fact, the data in the study shows that benzene levels were actually lowered when the so-called “dangerous” products were used. Levels of another cited toxin, acetaldehyde, was shown to be similar or higher than those in the study results when no products were used at all.

The conclusion? “Political activism should never trump good science and common sense. Consumers can continue to use laundry and fabric care products like they do every day: safely and effectively.”

For more details, please see the RIFM press release on the subject.

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