The Air We Share

Educating and informing about the quality of the air we share.

Why I Care About Laundry Room Exhaust

I appreciate you reading and thinking about this information. Between 16 and 25% of people in the US report that they are chemically sensitive. This affects your neighborhood too.

I’m a veterinarian who works from home for industry as a senior drug safety specialist, and I care about the quality of the air in all neighborhoods; my mission is to offer information about The Air We Share. Basically, this is a community project to protect and improve the health of people within any and all neighborhoods.

I’m looking for twenty families in each neighborhood
who would like to take on breathing cleaner air
and reducing the number of chemicals in our environment.

How can we create this beneficial change? It’s simple – we’ll look at “Laundry Room Exhaust” and concentrate there. Did you know that the laundry detergents we use, as well as the dryer sheets we might use, often contain harmful chemicals that transfer to our clothing and then can be found both inside and outside of our homes? 

Yep, that dryer vent disperses these chemicals into our neighborhood where it has a negative impact on the air we share. And the inside of your home contains these particles too – both in the air and on your clothing – so you both inhale it, and it crosses into your body through your skin. Exposing your two largest organs (your skin and your lungs) to these chemicals can put you at risk. It’s worth examining the consequences of using these products, and finding safer alternatives. 

One simple change can make a tremendous difference in the air quality in your home and save you money at the same time.

Dryer sheet use is already on the decline as people switch to safer (and cheaper) alternatives. And fewer people use chemical fragrances in their detergents these days, as the reasons for using Fragrance Free (Free & Clear) products continue to be made public. So I’d like to encourage you to gather information about this, and make an informed choice to switch to products that don’t have a negative impact on you and our environment.

So you might be asking, “Well, what’s in it for me?” or saying, “But I love the products that I already use. That fluffy bear on the TV ad is so cute.” But let me ask you a question – do you, or any of your family members or neighbors experience headaches or migraines? Asthma? Confusion or poor memory? GI signs? Skin rashes or itchiness? Muscle or joint pain? [CLICK HERE to follow this link to find a better list of common symptoms] If your answer is yes to any of these, you may truly benefit from exploring this website.

It may shock you to realize that these signs can be caused, in chemically sensitive individuals, by “everyday” household chemical exposures to the products you may use in your laundry room. Many people don’t know they have chemical sensitivities – they just think they are people who get headaches, or that they are people who have asthma, or frequent respiratory tract infections. It’s not an easy diagnosis to make, and many doctors, even the best doctors, aren’t trained in the diagnosis of multiple chemical sensitivity (also known as MCS, environmental illness or EI). Remember how I said that 16% to 25% of us are chemically sensitive? That number is on the rise as more and more chemicals are introduced into our lives. It can be overwhelming to think about – I get that.

But look: my job here is to make it less overwhelming, more manageable, a task you can take on – a task you want to take on.

So now I bet you’re asking what you have to do and how long will it take to see if it makes a difference in your life. Well, let me explain…

Do two things. That’s it. Two. (If you want to be fussy, you could do just one thing and it’d make a huge difference; it’s a start, but it’s a tremendous start.) It will eliminate ongoing exposure to toxins on your clothing and in the air inside your home. Here you go:

1) Stop purchasing dryer sheets and use wool dryer balls instead. These are chemical free and can be used – literally – thousands of times. You can buy a pack of 4 jumbo or king sized dryer balls from local household goods stores for about $15, or you can find a pack of 6 of the extra large size for about $10 to $15 on Amazon or in local stores. (I like the jumbo ones better because they are somewhat easier to locate amongst your clothes, but that’s just me). There’s a long list of things you’d probably want to avoid if you knew about them, and they are in dryer sheets, and they end up on your clothes. I don’t want to put you off by scaring you, but if you want you can look at this list, or just CLICK HERE for a link to Organic Wool Dryer Balls.

2) Buy only laundry detergent that is “Free & Clear” and by this I mean Fragrance Free. There are so many fragrance free options now, it’s easy to accomplish this. Due to consumer pressure even the mainstream detergents have Free & Clear offerings, but I’d recommend you go for one that is even better for the environment CLICK HERE to follow this link to find a list of highly rated products such as GreenShield or Seventh Generation, which have an A rating. Many of the mainstream options – the names you know like Ajax, All, Cheer, Gain, Tide, and even Dreft get ratings of an F, even though they are “free & clear”! I hope that by now you’d agree – you don’t want those chemical on your clothes.

If you are balking at the thought of eliminating the chemical fragrance that is added to your clothes, let me ask you this: when did “clean” change from ‘the absence of odor’ to ‘the addition of masking chemicals’? We are being told that “clean” smells like something, and then we are paying, in both money and our health, to buy in to that logic. But when does increasing our chemical burden seem logical? That is the question I request that you ponder. Consider that it seems logical to the companies making a profit from this belief, but not to people who breathe air.

So why am I looking for twenty families in the neighborhood who want to make this change? You’re the first followers, the early adoptersand when you see the changes in your own households, you’ll talk.

You’ll tell your friends, your coworkers, your various communities, and your neighbors what you’re up to. You’ll tell them about this website.
And little by little, this will spread from one neighborhood to the next. One home at a time, we’ll reduce the chemicals we use in our homes, and we’ll reduce that chemicals that enter the neighborhood via laundry room exhaust.

Home by Home, We’ll Care for The Air We Share.

Do realize that making this switch will not afford you overnight change in your indoor air quality – it will take several washes to clear the chemicals from your clothing. You may even want to clean your washer and dryer by running the cleaning cycle if your machines have them. Or just take a day and run the washer empty using hot water, then wash many loads of clothes and use the pre-wash and extra rinse options for maximum turnover of the water. Over the course of time your clothing and bedding will become free of these chemicals that can cause you harm. You may want to just go dryer sheet free during this phase, so you don’t impregnate your new wool dryer balls with residual chemicals; start using the wool dryer balls only in loads that have been washed multiple times.