Looking at the various fabric softeners on the market, there is great choice among scents, among prices… A constant in common products seems to be the presence of allergenic substances, which characterize the strongest and most persistent perfumes: linalool, coumarin, benzyl salicylate, limonene, hexyl cinnamal, butylphenyl methylpropional (also called lilial) and other components.
Some ingredients should be avoided not only as they are recognized allergens, but for their long-term toxicities too. For example, first of all the European Commission IUCLID Dataset describes lilial as a bioaccumulative chemical, such as even very little amount contained in perfumed fabric softeners tend to add up each other, day by day, finding their nest into adipose tissues and, in case of breastfeeding mums, into human milk. There’s more: even little amounts are able to damage reproductive system tissues of male mammals, leading to problems in spermatogenesis. Moreover, scientists from Reading University (UK) published an interesting study about human cells cultured in vitro, giving suspicion of oestrogenic activity of lilial and two other molecules (benzyl salicylate and benzyl benzoate), all possible endocrine disruptors. As all three are bioaccumulative substances, it seems clearly recommendable to prevent anybody from being exposed to them, particularly children.
How to avoid them? With regard to fabric softeners and, generally, detergents, consumers can look either at products label, or at the INCI names on the manufacturer website, and check the presence of “butylphenyl methylpropional“, for example, among the ingredients: regulations about allergens require that labels include it if its concentration is more than 0.001% in leave-on products (as creams) and more than 0.01% in rinse-off products. Below those levels products are considered safe, at least for allergic people.
Most fragrances components are bioaccumulative. Choosing a product with little amount of slightly persistent perfume, possibly without allergens, probabilities to be exposed to concerning chemicals are fewer.
Most Bensos’ products are fragrance-free, just about to reduce overall daily users’ exposition to perfumes. The Perfumed Fabric Softener is scented with a few amount of a slightly persistent fragrance, which is IFRA certified, allergen-free and phtalates-free. On request, the fragrance-free version is available.