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Laundry Detergent - Harmful to the Environment

The chemicals found in laundry detergents are nothing short of alarming. With the world turning her eyes to creating a safer, greener environment, it is no wonder that consumers are becoming savvy, looking for safer and better alternatives to traditional cleaners and products.

Laundry detergents are no exception to the mysterious world of vague labels and ingredients, leaving the consumer unaware of the potential harmful effects it may have on herself, her family, or the environment.

Specifically, there are certain toxins present in laundry detergents that take particular aim at the environment. Linear alkyl sodium sulfonates (LAS) are more commonly listed as 'anionic surfactants' on detergent labels. They are one of the more common surfactants found in laundry detergents. They are a synthetic product.

As they are manufactured, cancer causing or carcinogenic toxins, as well as reproductive toxins are released into the environment. Benzene is one such toxin, and if this were not detrimental enough, these also biodegrade very slowly.

Another harmful chemical that is frequently found in laundry detergents are phosphates. Used to remove hard-water minerals and as a preventive measure to keep dirt from settling onto clothes while being washed. Overall, they are used to make detergents more effective.

However, their negative impact on the environment is monumental. After their release into the environment, they can actually activate growth in marine plants. This can result in unbalanced ecosystems, forcing a lot of environmental changes that are not positive.

Since phosphates are so problematic, a lot of states have banned or limited their use. Some detergents even advertise their low or nonexistent phosphate level.

In essence, safer alternatives for the environment need to be utilized. Laundry detergents that contain these harmful products need to be altered or perhaps a new method of washing clothes can be implemented.

Since much of these products do not openly delineate the kind of harmful ingredients it uses, it may be difficult for the consumer to know just how detrimental they are to them and the environment.

Avoiding such products that contain anionic surfactants or linear alkyl sodium sulfonates, and phosphates is a move in the right direction.

Better alternatives are on the horizon for those who want to make a transition from the traditional way of washing clothes to a newer, safer method. The cause for concern with laundry detergents and other chemically driven products like it is real, but becoming informed of the hazards can aid in making a change for the better.


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