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Originally published December 5 2004

Warning: many dryer sheets contain cancer causing chemicals

by Mike Adams, the Health Ranger, NaturalNews Editor

America has a love affair with artificial fragrance and products that contain it. The amount of fragrance that goes into the average household in America is absolutely astounding. Itís found in all sorts of products but one of the most common is dryer sheets. As it turns out, dryer sheets are absolutely loaded with artificial fragrance. In fact, they serve more of a function of perfume sheets than any other practical function in the dryer.

When people use dryer sheets, they are coating their cloths with a thin film of artificial chemical perfumes. Just like other perfumes, a personís sensitivity to these perfumes decreases over time to the point where they donít even notice how potent these artificial fragrance chemicals are.

None of this would be interesting if it werenít for the fact that these fragrance chemical are extremely toxic chemicals. They are known carcinogens. They cause liver damage and cancer in mammals. In fact, the only way they are approved for use in consumer products is that there is an underlying, but false assumption by the FDA and other regulator agencies that cosmetic products such as shampoo, deodorants, creams, laundry detergents, and soaps donít pose a health risk because their chemicals are not absorbed through the skin. In other words, there is a much lower threshold of danger assumed with cosmetic products versus foods and beverages. It is assumed that chemicals put on the skin donít necessarily penetrate the skin. This assumption is incorrect, however.

Nearly every chemical that touches the skin finds its way into the body and into the bloodstream. As a result, wearing toxic fragrance chemicals is actually quite similar to eating them. These toxic chemicals would never, of course, be approved as safe food ingredients due to their toxicity. Many are registered as EPA toxins. Nearly all are listed in the government RTECS database of toxic chemicals (see for more info). Yet they are, for some reason, allowed to be used in consumer products simply because it is assumed they pose no hazard to human health.

A rigorous examination of the toxic chemicals used in artificial fragrance, such as over-the-counter perfumes, has turned up shocking reports showing as many as twenty-three identifiable carcinogenic compounds. A partial list is found at

This means that these fragrance products contain not just one cancer causing agent but potentially dozens. Thatís why using dryer sheets or even laundry detergent with fragrance is extremely bad for your health.

Years ago, people argued with the very idea that such chemicals could be absorbed through the skin. They said the skin is a strong barrier against external agents. Otherwise, they explained, the body would be invaded be bacteria and viruses on a daily basis. But then along came the nicotine patch and other federally approved drugs and consumer products that worked on the very premise that drugs can be absorbed through the skin. In fact, if chemicals werenít absorbed through the skin, the nicotine patch wouldnít work at all.

Today, even though it is obvious to any intelligent person that chemicals are quite easily absorbed through the skin, thereís no general recognition that products that come into contact with the skin of consumers could pose a potential health hazard. The FDA, it seems, is once again asleep at the wheel. A person who uses dryer sheets or laundry detergent with fragrance is actually coating their clothing in a layer of chemicals that will be easily transferred to their skin the next time they put on those cloths and start to perspire. The wetter your body becomes, the more easily the chemicals can move from clothing into your skin. And since many of these chemical compounds are by themselves solvents, they are rather good at moving through cellular membranes and entering tissues of the body, including nervous system tissues. This is why intelligent consumers who wish to protect their health avoid brand name dryer sheets, laundry detergents, and even perfumes and colognes that are all made with toxic fragrance chemicals that can cause cancer, liver disorders, Alzheimer's disease and many other chronic diseases.


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