Thursday, August 25, 2011

Chemical alert: Dryer vents spew hazardous toxins from scented household products

Scented laundry products contain
dangerous chemicals, researchers show.
Love the scent of fresh laundry when you open your dryer?

Think again. Most commercially sold laundry products contain dangerous chemicals, which can not only affect you and your family, but also people in your neighborhood.

Researchers from the University of Washington have examined the scented air wafting from household laundry vents and found that they released hazardous chemicals, including 2 carcinogens:
"This is an interesting source of pollution because emissions from dryer vents are essentially unregulated and unmonitored," said lead author Anne Steinemann, a UW professor of civil and environmental engineering and of public affairs in a press release.

"If they're coming out of a smokestack or tail pipe, they're regulated, but if they're coming out of a dryer vent, they're not."

Study measured VOCs from scented laundry products

For the new study, which focuses on chemicals emitted through laundry vents, researchers first purchased and pre-rinsed new, organic cotton towels.

They asked two homeowners to volunteer their washers and dryers, cleaned the inside of the machines with vinegar, and ran full cycles using only water to eliminate as much residue as possible.

Analysis of the captured gases found more than 25 volatile organic compounds, including seven hazardous air pollutants, coming out of the vents. Acetaldehyde and benzene are classified by the Environmental Protection Agency as carcinogens, for which the agency has established no safe exposure level.

Their findings are published in the journal Air Quality, Atmosphere and Health.

"These products can affect not only personal health, but also public and environmental health. The chemicals can go into the air, down the drain and into water bodies," Steinemann said.

Worried about chemicals in your indoor air?

Chemical exposure has become a serious public health concern, but there are many things homeowners and residents can do to minimize their exposure.

Along with source control and using the most natural materials and ingredients possible, a serious air purifier with many pounds of activated carbon and HEPA can help remove indoor air pollutants.

AllerAir air purifiers are portable, value-enhanced air cleaners for the home and office and can be personalized to provide the best air cleaning solution for your specific needs.

Contact AllerAir for more information and assistance: 1-888-852-8247 or

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