Have you ever taken a bike ride through a neighborhood and rode past homes and smelled that horrible laundry detergent smell? That highly chemical smell? Sometimes I will ride my bike through a neighborhood and smell this horrible chemical smell over and over from multiple houses on the block. Most homes use whatever laundry detergent is cheap and plentiful, and don’t really concern themselves with the ingredients. After all, you’re not drinking laundry detergent are you?
Laundry detergent like any other household product such as cleaning, cosmetic or beauty products can contain toxic chemicals and even carcinogens.
According to the New York Times a petrochemical solvent known as 1,4-dioxane which is also found in paints and varnishes is found in Tide laundry detergent. The group Women’s voices for the earth made the discovery. They found that tide detergent contained 63 PPM (parts per million) of this petrochemical. The Tide Free & Clear also contained this petrochemical at a slightly higher dosage of 89 PPM (parts per million) as well.
The EPA (environment protection agency) considers this solvent a human carcinogen. This is taken directly from their website:
“1,4-Dioxane is used as a solvent. Acute (short-term) inhalation exposure to high levels of 1,4-dioxane has caused vertigo, drowsiness, headache, anorexia and irritation of the eyes, nose, throat, and lungs in humans. It may also irritate the skin. Damage to the liver and kidneys has been observed in rats chronically (long-term) exposed in their drinking water. In three epidemiologic studies on workers exposed to 1,4-dioxane, the observed number of cancer cases did not differ from the expected cancer deaths. Tumors have been observed in orally exposed animals. EPA has classified 1,4-dioxane as a Group B2, probable human carcinogen.”
As you can see there are acute affects simply by inhaling this chemical. Long term exposure causes more damage. This is an issue for several reasons. First and foremost, if you use any of Tide products you are contributing to this carcinogenic chemical being essentially diffused in your laundry room as well as kicked out into your yard, where your children probably play. Not only that but you wear the clothes and carry the scent of tide (and it’s chemical concoction) with you wherever you go, so you’re carrying this smell and inhaling this throughout the day.
If you sweat a bit here or there the moisture soaks into your clothing which causes the laundry detergent chemicals sitting on your clothes to absorb into your skin easier. Your armpits and groin sweat the most and these are also the areas that absorb up to 100% of what is applied to them topically. This mean that wearing clothes with chemical based ingredients and a little bit of sweat cause you to not only inhale but absorb these chemicals in your skin throughout the day.
This is just ONE of the ingredients in Tide’s laundry detergent. Another ingredient known as sodium hydroxide may be a possible carcinogen as well. Tide also contains propylene glycol which is a known endocrine (hormone) disruptor. It’s also a chemical used in anti-freeze!
Tide contains many more chemicals, it’s a chemical formulation that also includes fragrance which has it’s harmful effects. There are at least 2 known carcinogens in tide detergent and probably a few more considering the list of chemicals in Tide is quite large. There is not one “natural” or pure plant based ingredient in tide except for water.
Every other ingredient is either a carcinogen, or irritant to the lungs or skin. Any chemical that irritates the skin or lungs does more than just irritate, it’s foreign to the body so it has this reaction for a reason. Any foreign chemical introduced to the skin or by inhaling has much more harmful affects than a simple irritant.
Just take a look at the list of ingredients for Tide detergent:
- alcoholethoxy sulfate
- linear alkylbenzene sulfonate
- propylene glycol
- citric acid
- sodium hydroxide
- alcohol sulfate
- polyethyleneimine ethoxylate
- sodium fatty acids
- diquaternium ethoxysulfate
- diethylene glycol
- laureth 9
- alkyldimethylamine oxide
- disodium diaminostilbene disulfonate
- sodium formate
- calcium formate
- polyethylene glycol 4000
- Liquitint™ Blue (a dye)
And there’s the list! If I had the time i’d research each ingredient individually but I do not have that much time on my hands! If knowing there are a few carcinogenic chemicals and other toxic hazardous chemicals are in Tide detergent doesn’t convince you to change your mind I don’t know what will.
Remember, the smell of the chemicals in tide (from the washer/dryer) the output, as well as on your clothes is constantly being inhaled by your family and you. Each time you sweat (especially near your groin or armpits) your body absorbs the residue your fabrics contain.
Take a look at the warming label on tide, this was taken today (November 6th, 2015)
It’s the usual “Beware, call the poison control center immediately if ANYTHING happens” tidbit. Any product with a label like this should be completely avoided. Introducing these products into your home only brings more chemicals and more of a toxic load on your health and the environment. You’ll feel better with a home that has less (or no) chemicals and cause less environmental harm as well.
There are many other alternatives to tide, seventh generation is an all natural brand of laundry detergent. You can also make your own homemade all natural laundry detergent from scratch.
You have to think about the affect of your choices. This choice, to use tide or any other chemical based laundry detergent is polluting your home, your clothing and your air with chemicals. Then, that water full of chemicals is drained into the city water supply which harms the environment and then is re-constituted as drinking water. Drinking water with a carcinogen or two among other chemicals. The tap water water municipality cannot filter everything, in fact, they’ve already found traces of pharmaceutical drugs including birth control drugs in tap water. Small traces of birth control drugs will harm your hormonal system. Adding or using any chemicals that are flushed, drained or put into the water supply harm all of us in our health, along with the environment at large.