SOURCE: Seventh Generation

Seventh Generation

October 19, 2010 11:33 ET

Just Say No to the Glow!

Seventh Generation Sheds Light on Optical Brighteners in Laundry Detergents

BURLINGTON, VT--(Marketwire - October 19, 2010) -  Did you know that most conventional liquid laundry detergents contain an additive called optical brighteners? Seventh Generation, the nation's leading brand of environmentally responsible household and personal care products, has been formulating their detergents without these chemical additives and believes consumers, and the environment, will benefit as a result.

"Optical brighteners are added to conventional detergents to trick our eyes into thinking clothes are whiter and brighter than they really are," said Cara Bondi, senior research chemist at Seventh Generation. "But this artificial 'glow' has nothing to do with being clean, and the chemicals that create it can affect human and environmental health."

While optical brighteners are unnecessary for high performance cleaning, the negative environmental impacts from them are well documented. Optical brighteners washed down drains frequently survive wastewater treatment and escape into our lakes, rivers, and streams, where, according to aquatic toxicity experts, they can be toxic to some algae and small fish and can also bioaccumulate in larger fish.

Designed to intentionally remain behind on our clothes and linens, optical brighteners can rub off on skin where they can cause a reaction in sunlight that looks like sunburn. It has been reported in medical literature and consumers with sensitive skin may be more susceptible.

A video posted on the company's website shows just what optical brighteners leave behind, and consumer reaction has been strong. 

In response to a Seventh Generation Facebook post regarding optical brighteners, consumer and Seventh Generation enthusiast Christina Wilson said, "We used to use laundry detergent to paint scenery for special effects under the blacklight (uv light) for our theatre sets because of its reactivity. When I started having intense skin reactions to any detergents, I started [personally] researching and found out the same thing."

Did You Know?

The military bans use of detergents with optical brighteners on military issued combat gear. The optical brighteners can strip the uniforms of protective substances necessary for extreme conditions; they'll decrease the efficacy of the fabric and its design to inhibit visuals under night vision instruments -- definitely not good when battling the enemy.

To view the video and learn more about clean, environmentally friendly laundry and healthy homes, visit

About Seventh Generation

Seventh Generation is committed to being the most trusted brand of household and personal-care products for your living home. Our products are healthy solutions for the air, surfaces, fabrics, pets and people within your home -- and for the community and environment outside of it. Seventh Generation also offers baby products that are safe for your children and the planet.

The company derives its name from the Great Law of the Iroquois Confederacy that states, "In our every deliberation, we must consider the impact of our decisions on the next seven generations." Every time you use a Seventh Generation product you are making a difference by saving natural resources, reducing pollution, and making the world a better place for this and the next seven generations.

For information on Seventh Generation cleaning, paper, baby and feminine personal care products, to find store locations, and explore the company's website visit To read more about Seventh Generation's corporate responsibility, visit the Corporate Consciousness Report at:

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