Chemicals found in fabric
softeners by U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
Compiled by Julia Kendall*, Co-Chair, Citizens for a Toxic-Free Marin.
Phone: (415) 485-6870. Reference: Lance Wallace, Environmental Protection Agency;
Phone (703) 341-7509 Excerpts from "Health Hazard Information." References:
Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS). Provided with permission by Barbara Wilkie
firstname.lastname@example.org of the Environmental Health Network
(of California). [*NOTE: Julia Kendall died July
12, 1997 from Multiple Chemical Sensitivities and Leukemia caused by pesticide
Principal chemicals found in Fabric Softeners/Dryer Sheets are:
Symptoms of exposure are taken from industry-generated Material Safety Data Sheets
- Causes CNS (central nervous system) disorders... "highly irritating to mucous
membranes" ..."Aspiration into the lungs can produce pneumonitis or even fatal
edema." Can also cause "excitement, ataxia (loss of muscular coordination),
hypothermia, CNS and respiratory depression, and headache." "Prevent repeated
or prolonged skin contact."
- BENZYL ACETATE
- Carconigenic (linked to pancreatic cancer). "From vapors: irritating to
eyes and respiratory passages, exciting cough." "In mice: hyperanemia of the
lungs." "Can be absorbed through the skin causing systemic effects." "Do not
flush to sewer."
- BENZYL ALCOHOL
- Causes CNS disorders ..."irritating to the upper respiratory tract" ..."headache,
nausea, vomiting, dizziness, drop in blood pressure, CNS depression, and death
in severe cases due to respiratory failure."
- Causes CNS disorders. On EPA's Hazardous Waste list. Symptoms: "local irritant
and CNS stimulant" ..."readily absorbed through body tissues" ..."irritation
of eyes, nose, and throat" ..."dizziness, confusion, nausea, twitching muscles
and convulsions". "Avoid inhalation of vapors."
- Neurotoxic. Anesthetic. Carcinogenic. on EPA's Hazardous Waste list. "Avoid
contact with eyes, skin, clothing. Do not breathe vapors ...Inhalation of
vapors may cause headache, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, drowsiness, irritation
of respiratory tract and loss of consciousness." "Inhalation can be fatal."
"Chronic effects of overexposure may include kidney and/or liver damage."
"Medical conditions generally aggravated by exposure: kidney disorders, liver
disorders, heart disorders, skin disorders." "Conditions to avoid: Heat..."
Listed on California's Proposition 65.
- ETHYL ACETATE
- Narcotic. On EPA's Hazardous Waste list. "...Irritating to the eyes and
respiratory tract" ..."may cause headache and narcosis (stupor)" ..."may cause
anemia with leukocytosis and damage to liver and kidneys". "Wash thoroughly
- Carcinogenic. "Prevent its contact with skin or eyes because it is an irritant
and sensitizer." "Always wash thoroughly after using this material and before
eating, drinking ...applying cosmetics. Do not inhale limonene vapor."
- Narcotic. Causes CNS disorders. ..."respiratory disturbances" ..."Attracts
bees." "In animal tests: ataxic gait, reduced spontaneous motor activity and
depression ...depressed heart activity ...development of respiratory disturbances
leading to death."
- "Danger - Harmful if inhaled ...Avoid breathing vapor." "Inhalation of vapors
may cause headache, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, drowsiness, irritation of
respiratory tract and loss of consciousness. Repeated inhalation of vapors
may cause CNS depression. Contact can cause eye irritation. Prolonged exposure
may cause dermatitis (skin rash)."
- CNS = Central Nervous System, your brain and spine.
- CNS disorders include: Alzheimer's Disease, Attention Deficit Disorder,
Dementia, Multiple Chemical Sensitivity, Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson's Disease,
Seizures, Strokes, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.
- CNS exposure symptoms include: aphasia, blurred vision, disorientation,
dizziness, headaches, hunger, memory loss, numbness in face, pain in neck
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Cyndi Norwitz / email@example.com
/ Last Modified: 10/7/98