This might be hard to believe, but there is an upside to the Tide Pod Challenge phenomenon that you’ve probably seen in the news lately. It has caused scientists, doctors, politicians, newscasters and even Tide itself to publicly announce what our readers have known for a long time, which is that these laundry products contain “highly concentrated, toxic detergent.”
That’s right, “TOXIC.” Those are also the words of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. Tide laundry detergent is toxic.
Obviously, nobody should eat any laundry product (even the ones
we call Good Stuff!), but we’ve known for years that most major brands contain a wide array of toxic ingredients.
Chief among these concerns is a chemical known as 1,4-dioxane. According to the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, exposure to this compound can cause eye and nose irritation, kidney problems, and possible long-term lung damage.
The EPA on 1,4-Dioxane
“1,4-Dioxane is used as a solvent. Acute (short-term) inhalation exposure to high levels of 1,4-dioxane has caused vertigo, drowsiness, headache, anorexia, and irritation of the eyes, nose, throat, and lungs in humans…Damage to the liver and kidneys has been observed in rats chronically (long-term) exposed in their drinking water… Tumors have been observed in orally exposed animals. EPA has classified 1,4-dioxane as a Group B2, probable human carcinogen.”
1,4-dioxane is commonly found in Tide and many other major brands of laundry detergent, whether or not you see it listed as an ingredient.
Phthalates in Laundry Detergent
Another toxin is something as benign sounding as “fragrance.” Fragrance, as you’ve probably heard us mention, is almost always packed with a group of chemicals known as phthalates, which cannegatively affect reproductive systems, endocrine systems, and infant development.
Don’t Detergent Toxins Wash Out?
So my question is; why would we wash our clothes with known toxins?
It would be easy to think that these toxins simply wash down the drain (and into lakes, rivers, and oceans), and yes they do wind up in the environment and cause all sorts of problems there.
In addition, ingredients in these toxic laundry products are intentionally made to stick to fabrics, mostly to keep our clothes smelling “clean.” This means that as we wear our clothes and sweat, these chemicals break down and are being absorbed through our skin. So when we use these products we are being exposed to these chemicals essentially all the time, even when we sleep.
Alternatives to Tide’s Toxic Laundry Detergent
The fact is that there is very little meaningful regulation around cleaning and laundry products, so it’s up to each of us to stay informed.
Gimme the Good Stuff is far from the first to bring awareness to these problems, but we do offer alternatives to toxic laundry detergents. Below are some of our very favorite safe laundry soaps and detergents. (But still, don’t eat them!).