Are you looking for non-toxic laundry detergent sheets that are safest for you and the environment? Most laundry detergent sheets market themselves as safe for the environment, however, the best laundry detergent sheets will be free from indications of PFAS “forever chemicals” in order to protect the Planet because persistent chemicals are not eco-friendly. It’s not just about plastic-free packaging, but also about not putting persistent PFAS chemicals into waterways in order to be called sustainable. This is why Mamavation sent the most popular laundry detergent sheets off to our EPA-certified lab find out once and for all which brands to recommend. You’ve trusted Mamavation to bring you topics like best water purifiers to filter PFAS “forever chemicals,” best PFAS free mattresses, & best PFAS free yoga pants, now join us for our latest consumer study on PFAS & laundry detergent sheets.
Disclosure: This post was medically reviewed by Sondra Strand, RN, BSN, PHN. Note that Mamavation has only “spot-checked” the industry and thus we cannot make predictions about brands and products that were not tested in our EPA-certified laboratory. Products and manufacturing aides can change without notice so buyer beware. This post contains affiliate links, with most to Amazon, which means Mamavation will receive a portion of those sales and we will use that to pay ourselves back for the testing. You can also give a tax-deductible donation to our consumer studies here through Environmental Health Sciences. Thank you!
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Mamavation’s Finds Indications of PFAS “Forever Chemicals” in Laundry Detergent Sheets
Mamavation’s EPA-certified laboratory found indications of PFAS “forever chemicals” inside popular laundry detergent sheets after analyzing 4 brands on the market today. PFAS are per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances that have been used for many decades as stain-resistant, oil-resistant, grease-resistant, & water-resistant chemicals in commerce.
PFAS is found in many other areas of our homes with some examples being cookware, makeup, drinking water, contact lenses & dental floss. These chemicals are linked to serious health effects, which we will discuss later. Because PFAS are so toxic, Mamavation has commissioned our own scientific studies on indications of PFAS in products to make recommendations for laundry detergent sheets using PFAS-free materials. Read Mamavation’s articles (see below) on these products to find which detergent strips are organic-fluorine-free.
Here is what our EPA-certified laboratory reported back to Mamavation about laundry sheets:
- 75% of laundry detergent sheets came back with levels of organic fluorine above 10 parts per million (ppm). That’s 3 out of 4 laundry detergent sheets.
- Our EPA-certified lab found levels of organic fluorine between non-detect and 66 ppm.
Health Effects Linked to Exposure to PFAS “Forever Chemicals”
PFAS “forever chemicals” are per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances used as stain-resistant, water-resistant, & oil-resistant chemicals in commerce. They have been used for decades inside consumer products, manufacturing, and building materials. There are over 12,000 different chemicals in the PFAS chemical class (including PFOA & PTFE), and because there are so many of them, they are incredibly hard to identify and test for.
PFAS “forever chemicals” are problematic to human health and the environment. They are considered persistent, ubiquitous, and toxic, and therefore, it’s important you avoid them as much as you can to keep them from building up in our bodies. Many compounds can last for years in our bodies, therefore, it’s imperative to reduce the amount of PFAS you are exposed to from contaminated food, water, and other consumer products.
Here’s a list of the health impacts associated with PFAS:
- reduction in immunity
- reduced vaccination response
- increases risk of childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia
- increased risk of allergies & asthma in young children
- affect the growth, learning, and behavior of infants and older children
- increase cholesterol levels
- metabolic diseases like obesity & diabetes
- cardiovascular disease
- lower a woman’s chance of getting pregnant
- lowers male fertility
- increase the risk of kidney & testicular cancers
- Causes endocrine disruption
- Disrupts normal thyroid function
Mamavation Finds Traces of PFAS “Forever Chemicals” In Other Products
PFAS, otherwise known as per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (aka PFCs or perfluorinated chemicals, including PFOA and PFOS) are added to many products we purchase to make them “stain-resistant,” “grease-proof,” and “water-resistant.”
As we are writing this, Mamavation has released 24 consumer studies looking for indications of PFAS “forever chemicals” inside everyday items and the food we bring into our homes. In these studies, we have learned quite a bit about where PFAS chemicals hide in everyday products. Even brands that advertise themselves as “PFAS-free” do not count the contamination that may come from manufacturing aides in processing or packaging. They basically only count “intentionally added” PFAS when they make claims, however, Mamavation’s testing has exposed quite a bit of issues in everyday products. Learn more about our other PFAS consumer studies here:
- Nut Butters
- Pasta & Tomato Sauce
- Cooking Oils
- Butter Wrappers
- Sports Bras
- Green Beauty Makeup
- Period Underwear
- Parchment Paper
- Cupcake Liners
- Plastic-Free Straws
- Fast Food Packaging
- Mobile Phone Screen Protectors
- Bamboo Flooring
- Toilet Paper
- Sanitary Pads & Incontinence Pads
- Dental Floss
- Diapers & Cloth Diapers
- Baby Strollers
- Children’s Probiotics
- Kids’ Backpacks
Other Known Industries Using PFAS “Forever Chemicals”
PFAS chemicals have been used for decades to create stain resistance, water resistance, and grease-proof qualities in products to which they are added. If you’ve heard of coatings such as “Teflon” on cookware, fabrics made from “Gore-Tex” or treatments on carpets like STAINMASTER®, you’ve already heard about PFAS chemicals. Here’s more of what you may not have been aware of:
- Textiles & Fabrics: PFAS chemicals are very commonly found in industries such as textiles & fabrics to create stain-resistance, water-resistance, or “sweat-wicking.” To help you here, Mamavation has tested athletic wear, sports bras, and period underwear. We’ve also conducted other consumer studies on bedding, children’s clothing, infant car seats, jackets, & raincoats.
- Food Packaging: In food packaging, they are used in popcorn bags, pizza boxes, fast food wrappers & canisters, and the flat dish on the bottom of cakes at the grocery store. Mamavation has also tested different butter wrappers, parchment paper brands, plastic-free straws, paper coffee filters, and cupcake liners for indications of PFAS.
- Personal Care Products: The beauty industry has been notoriously guilty of using PFAS to create a waterproof or long-lasting effect in makeup products. So Mamavation tested the most popular green beauty makeup brands, and we have also found some issues with period underwear, tampons, and sanitary pads. We also found quite a bit of detection in dental floss.
- Toilet Paper: Mamavation found indications of PFAS in 24% of the toilet paper we sent to the lab. However, we also found plenty of ‘best” and “better” brands. Go take a look!
- Cookware: Most “non-stick” cookware is coated with PFAS chemicals, including some stainless steel cookware, and small kitchen appliances like air fryers. Check out Mamavation’s investigation on cookware.
- Carpeting & Flooring: PFAS has also been used in carpeting & flooring. Do you remember StainMaster™ carpet? That was PFAS. However, not all carpet has indications of PFAS. We recently tested one brand you can safely purchase. Mamavation also tested several bamboo flooring brands and found one brand that was free from PFAS.
- Furniture: Watch out for “stain-resistant” treatments on furniture. We have not done any testing in this category yet.
- Fire Fighting Foam: PFAS was used in firefighting foams and they have unfortunately been used extensively around military bases and airports. If you live close to a military base or airport, check with your local water district to see if they have tested the water for PFAS.
- Metal Plating, Semiconductors, Lubrications, & Coating Additives: Lots of industrial applications of PFAS are used to keep equipment from rusting, getting overheated, or provide water-resistant, or grease-resistant qualities.
- Drinking Water: Sadly, there are lots of places around the United States and all over the world that have drinking water contaminated with PFAS. Most of these areas are by military bases, airports, and other industrial parks that used PFAS for firefighting or other such uses. Luckily, Mamavation has done an investigation of the best water filters to remove PFAS.
- Car Wax, Ski Wax, & Surfboard Wax: Yes, you guessed it. PFAS is used here for its grease & water-resistant qualities.
- Some Processed Food: Mamavation has found indications of PFAS inside pasta & tomato sauces, nut butters, cooking oils, and ketchup. We are presently working on other food categories right now.
- Supplements: Mamavation’s lab has found some issues with products like electrolytes.
- Baby & Kids Products: Mamavation’s lab has found organic fluorine in some disposable diapers & cloth diapers, strollers, & kids backpacks. We’ve also cleared several probiotics for children through testing.
Mamavation’s Investigation of Laundry Detergent Sheets
Mamavation sent four popular laundry detergent sheets to an EPA-certified lab looking for indications of PFAS “forever chemicals.” We are now going to share with you our findings and raw data that was found by our lab.
Testing Method: The specific lab method used by Mamavation tested for total fluorine by using the Determination of Total Fluorine by Oxygen Flask Combustion and Ion-Selective Electrode. If detectable total fluorine was observed at a detection level of 10ppm, the lab did the Determination of free Fluoride Ion in the tablet by Ion-Selective Electrode and then subtracted that from the Total Fluorine to determine the amount of organic fluorine.
Organic fluorine testing is marker testing. This is why we refer to it as “spotcheck” testing. Our reasoning is there are over 15,000 different PFAS chemicals in commerce and it’s impossible to identify all of them. In fact, it’s only possible to identify about 200+ or so in a really good commercial lab. Because you cannot test for 99% of these chemicals, we do marker testing instead looking for the element they all have in common–organic fluorine. What else could organic fluorine possibly contain other than PFAS? Nothing you want to wash your clothes with. The other main possibilities are other fluoropolymers, pharmaceuticals, and common hydrofluorocarbon refrigerants, such as 1,1,1,2-tetrafluoroethane (commonly known as R-134a) and 2,3,3,3-tetrafluoropropene (commonly known as HFO-1234yf). None of these other chemicals would be considered “safe” for human health or the environment.
Not Our Favorite Laundry Detergent Sheets
This category represents laundry detergent sheets that were sent to our EPA-certified lab and came back with over 20 ppm of organic fluorine, which is indicative of PFAS. Organic fluorine is an indicator of PFAS.
- ECOS Hypoallergenic Plant Powered Laundry Detergent Sheet Magnolia & Lily — 26 ppm organic fluorine
- Force of Nature Planet-Friendly Laundry Detergent Sheets — 66 ppm organic fluorine
Better Laundry Detergent Sheets
This category represents laundry detergent sheets that were sent to our EPA-certified lab and came back with less than 20 ppm of organic fluorine, which is indicative of PFAS. Organic fluorine is an indicator of PFAS.
- Earth Breeze Laundry Detergent Eco Sheets Fresh Scent — 14 ppm organic fluorine
Best Laundry Detergent Sheets
This category represents laundry detergent sheets that were sent to our EPA-certified lab and came back with non-detect organic fluorine results. This means our lab did not detect indications of PFAS in these products.
- TRUEARTH Eco-Strips Laundry Detergent Sheet Ultra Concentrated Fragrance free — non-detect organic fluorine
Please note that some ingredients inside TRUEARTH are not perfect, however, overall it’s safer than PFAS if you want to use laundry detergent sheets to lessen the amount of plastic you use daily. If you would like our other recommendations of laundry detergents with better ingredients please see our investigation here. However, please note that we have not tested all the laundry detergents in this post yet with our lab.
If you are looking for other investigations on cleaning products these additional investigations may be of use to you: