As a follow-up to the previous story “From one Business Owner to another”, check out David’s real life experience where the winner was in the fact the “loser” scented product.

I needed some concrete work done in my backyard. The contractor I called for an estimate showed up in the morning, freshly showered and smothered in aftershave. Since it was an outside quote, I figured I could stand the stench if I stood upwind. Due to my confusion and extreme desire to run for the hills, he had a lot of difficulty getting my contact information correct.  I gave him a crash course on fragrance free living, trying to politely explain how his scented products were probably affecting him, never mind me. In spite of all of this, the damage was done so I hired him to get the job done.

The Contractor came over the evening before the job was to be done to confirm some changes that needed to be made. When I met him in the backyard, I couldn’t believe that it was possible to smell as horrible as he did—I believed the culprit was fabric softener. Again, I asked him to stand downwind. Again, he was totally unaware of how his behavior was being affected by this putrid smell. I was getting revved up and angry but kept focusing on the fact that it was suppose to rain in a couple of days and I needed this job done now. He actually admitted that his wife had just changed their fabric softener and had to rewash her clothes multiple times due to skin irritation and migraine headaches. Why she didn’t redo his clothes was a mystery as he was being totally affected too!!!!

I gave him another card and “the talk”, again—one more time, but he simply just wasn’t getting it. He was dazed and confused—typical signs of scent sensitivity. His wife was in the truck waiting so I gave her a card and explained why I could not stand her husband’s presence. I asked them to leave and call me in a couple of hours after I got some fresh air and returned to normal.

Surprisingly he never called back. Not sure why, probably thought I was a nut case. So the contractor lost a job because of a scented product that is hugely affecting his life. In this case ignorance is not bliss. Oh well, you win some, you lose some. I wouldn’t have trusted him to do the job right anyway given his lack of awareness of how scented products were affecting him.

And by the way, the project was finished by another contractor.

Now check out this article from the Environmental Health Association of Nova Scotia to see why a simple change in your laundry routine can save money, protect your health and help the environment all at the same time.

Instead of using chemical fabric softeners in your laundry, the Environmental Health Association of Nova Scotia (EHANS) suggests a switch to dryerballs. What’s a dryerball? It’s football shaped or round (there are different varieties), about 3” long, and bumpy. A set of two dryerballs in your dryer will shorten drying time by 15-25%. Dryerballs are made to eliminate static and soften clothes. They also cut down on ironing, because clothes come out of the dryer less wrinkled.

Alison Petten, RN, is an educator and health consultant and a volunteer with EHANS. She is a strong believer that we can do a lot to protect our health by making smarter choices in the products we use every day. “There are some very nasty ingredients in fabric softeners,” Petten says. “Several ingredients release formaldehyde, which has been linked to cancer in lab tests. Others can cause asthma-like symptoms. The ingredients in fabric softeners can also irritate skin.”

Unlike chemical fabric softeners, dryerballs leave no chemical residue. Chemical fabric softeners, whether liquid or dryer sheets, are designed to leave chemicals in clothes and bedding, This cloud of chemicals becomes part of the air we breathe, and remains in contact with our skin, all day and all night. The chemicals also increase the risk of dryer fires, because they are highly flammable.

“A lot of people don’t make the connection that the chemicals which we breathe, and those we absorb through the skin, get into the bloodstream and can effect every organ and system in the body,” Petten explains.

Petten has seen a number of health problems clear up when people stopped using chemical fabric softeners. “I have seen marked improvement in clients with psoriasis, eczema, asthma and migraines.” Petten says. “Others have told me that their irritable bowel syndrome and arthritis improved when they cut chemical fabric softeners out of their laundry routine.”

One woman who Petten advised was unable to work due to severe asthma. After inquiring about her home environment, Petten suggested she start by eliminating fabric softener from her laundry, especially from her pillow and bedding. After creating a space free of fabric softeners in her own bedroom, the woman’s health improved enough that she was able to return to work.

Dryerballs are good for the environment too. They save energy by shortening drying time by 15%- 25%. Petten uses two sets together, and finds her laundry dries even faster, saving her both time and money. With dryerballs, no chemicals are added to wash water, which means no chemicals to go down the drain and end up in our lakes and rivers. Everything that goes down the drain eventually ends up in the environment, because sewage treatment plants don’t filter out chemicals from laundry or other cleaning products.