Is Your Dryer Vent Making Your Neighbors Sick?
We were so busy with parties, concerts and shopping during the holidays that I sort of slacked off a little on the laundry. I usually try to keep on top of it so it doesn’t pile up…
…but that week everyone’s hamper was overflowing. That is, until Dylan gave me a reality check. He looked at me and, very seriously, said, “Mommy, I think you’re a little behind on the laundry.” He then proceeded to show me how he couldn’t even fit another sock in his hamper. That’s when Daniella popped her head out of her bedroom and asked if her favorite white leggings were clean. I grabbed their hampers and headed for the laundry room…all while muttering something about how I did my own laundry at 6-years-old before walking 5 miles to school…in the snow…uphill both ways!
Until now, my biggest concern, when it came to the laundry, was whether the kids would each have a clean pair of underwear and socks to wear to school in the morning. I’ll never forget my mom’s advice to always wear clean underwear in case you get in an accident and have to go to the hospital. Lord knows Dylan would rat me out and tell the doctor that his mom is a little behind on the laundry!
But there are bigger concerns than just clean underwear now! My friend Lynn Colwell, who founded the fabulous website www.CelebrateGreen.net with her daughter Corey Colwell Lipson, posted a link to an article that really got me thinking. The article is called “Is Your Dryer Vent Making Your Neighbors Sick?” I worry about the food my kids eat, if there’s arsenic in their apple juice and hormones in their milk…
…but I never stopped to think that when I wash and dry their clothes I could be hurting my neighbors and my own family too, for that matter!
Who knew that their could be carcinogenic chemical and pollutants in the air blowing out of your dryer vent and into the neighborhood.
Below is the article from www.thestar.com by Lesley Ciarula Taylor. It has the details of the study conducted by a University of Washington Engineering Professor and her team. Let me know if it changes your mind about the products you use to clean your clothes.
I know two things for sure: 1. I’m going shopping for new laundry products 2. I’d like to apologize to my neighbors!
IS YOUR DRYER VENT MAKING YOUR NEIGHBORS SICK?
By: Lesley Ciarula Taylor
Air pumping from a clothes dryer is soaked with carcinogenic chemicals and pollutants, a U.S. study by an activist against fragrance chemicals has found.
“People are getting sick from the air from dryer vents,” Dr. Anne Steinemann told the Star. “A dryer vent is like a tail pipe sticking out.”
Steinemann, who has done previously published studies on the undisclosed volatile organic compounds in cleaners, air fresheners and cosmetic products with fragrance, concentrated this time on scented laundry detergent and dryer sheets.
“Little is known about chemicals in laundry products because their labels are not required to list any or all ingredients,” the study said. While some, such as acetaldehyde, are naturally occurring, Steinemann, a board member of the Chemical Sensitivity Foundation, argued that chemicals in fragrance are synthetic and react differently, particularly when heated.
Tests found 21 volatile organic compounds in the dryer vent air from laundry washed in scented detergent and 25 VOCs in the same laundry also dried with a scented dryer sheet. The highest concentrations, the study said, were of acetaldehyde, acetone and ethanol.
In previous studies, Steinemann reported that 10.9 per cent of the general population had reported headaches, nausea or other maladies from exposure to dryer-vent air.
To test the air, the University of Washington engineering professor and her team cleaned machines in two Seattle households with vinegar and unbleached paper towels, then laundered dye-free organic cotton bath towels with no products, with a name-brand detergent and with the detergent and dryer sheets.
The dryer air from one of the no-product launderings produced the least chemicals, although acetaldehyde and acetone levels were high in the other no-product laundering.
Steinemann, who washes her own laundry in vinegar and baking soda, contended tests need to be done to determine how long the fragrance chemicals linger on clothes or in machines, a particular concern to apartment dwellers who use common machines.
The American Cleaning Institute, the lobby group for the $30 billion U.S. cleaning market, dismissed the study as “shoddy science” for its small sample size and lack of tests with non-fragranced products.
“Their own data could equally support the conclusion that most of the trace compounds could come from sources other than laundry products,” said institute spokesman Brian Sansoni.
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