List: Worst Laundry Detergent Brands with Ingredients Linked to Allergies, Cancer
Laundry detergent can be a lot like a rich, decadent dessert. You can smell it from down the street and it’s baked to absolute perfection. But, deep down inside, you know that those refined ingredients and cups of sugar can have both short-and-long-term effects on your health. In the same way, just because laundry detergent can smell lemony fresh and make your clothes snow-white clean, does not mean they are necessarily safe.
People – yourself included – want safe, effective, cost-efficient ways to clean their clothes. Yet the very laundry detergent brands that promise all those things are the same ones that pose both environmental and health risks. Chemicals in laundry detergent can affect you directly, causing skin reactions like contact dermatitis, or indirectly through drinking water and chemicals that aren’t quick to degrade.The Worst Ingredients Found in Laundry Detergent
In the past, we have said that if you can’t pronounce the ingredients, don’t buy the product. Well, these are some of those ingredients. By no means is this an exhaustive list, however, if you see any of these chemicals staring back at you from the laundry detergent label, you may want to stay away from it after reading this…
“NP has been detected in human breast milk, blood, and urine and is associated with reproductive and developmental effects in rodents,” says the Environmental Protection Agency. (1)
“Though 1,4-dioxane can easily be removed from products before they are sold, its widespread presence in products indicates that many manufacturers fail to take this simple step.”
Related: Over 200 Children’s Products May Contain Hidden Carcinogen, 1,4-Dioxane
You can find one or both of these ingredients in numerous shampoos and dishwashing soaps, and many laundry detergent brands. Manufacturers mainly use it as a bubbling or foaming agent, but also as a detergent. Depending on the manufacturing processes, sodium laureth sulfate can be contaminated with 1,4-dioxane and another human carcinogen called ethylene oxide.
5)When these chemicals are washed down the drains and run through pipes, they do not easily degrade and thus pose an environmental risk that affects both animals and humans. The longer these chemicals remain, the more likely people are to have an increased risk of skin, eye, or respiratory irritation and nervous system problems. (5,6)
4) Artificial Fragrances
Laundry detergent is not the only thing in which you’ll find fragrances. As we mentioned above, fragrance is present in countless household cleaners, personal care products, and cosmetics. Technically, it’s not even a single ingredient and can contain hundreds or thousands of chemicals that are mixed to create a given fragrance. In fact, according to the International Fragrance Association, “3,999 materials have been reported as used in fragrance compounds.” (7)
High-efficiency (HE) laundry detergent refers to products that boast their stain-removing or fabric-softening capabilities. Many people use HE detergents because they can be cost-efficient but, unfortunately, that doesn’t mean they are safe. EWG reviewed 269 high-efficiency laundry detergents and found that over 60 percent couldn’t score above a D. Believe it or not, 36 percent of them received a failing F. (9)
How about general-purpose (GP) laundry detergents? When EWG reviewed 434 GP laundry detergents, more than 65 percent of scored a D or worse, with 37.6 percent getting an F. (10) It’s important to recognize that this “laundry list” is not exhaustive, but still emphasizes how poor and arguably unsafe many of these popular laundry detergents are. That said, there are brands that have multiple products, some of which received A-grades while others received poorer ones. So, don’t write off a brand right away – make sure you check the grades of their individual laundry detergents because you could have one of the safe ones.A Brief List of Laundry Detergent Brands That Scored ‘F’