Optical Brighteners: Just Say No to the Glow! | Seventh Generation
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Optical Brighteners: Just Say No to the Glow!

118 comments
Author: lwoodburne

Cara Bondi, Research Chemist at Seventh Generation explains what optical brighteners are and why Seventh Generation doesn't use them: a real clean shouldn't be an optical illusion. Optical brighteners are synthetic chemicals that make fabrics appear to glow in the presence of ultraviolet light. They don't have anything to do with getting things clean -- they're only added to detergents to make us think our laundry is brighter and whiter than it really is. Designed to intentionally remain behind on our clothes and linens, optical brighteners rub off on our skin where they can cause a reaction that looks like sunburn. They're no fun for the environment either. Optical brighteners washed down our drains frequently survive wastewater treatment and escape into our lakes, rivers, and streams. Once there, they don't completely biodegrade and instead accumulate in fish.

Test Your Knowledge! Take this short quiz about optical brighteners after you watch the video.

118
Comments

nana1968 picture
nana1968
01/13/12
Very interesting. I am glad I make my own homemade laundry detergant due to allergies and such. However would like to learn more about all products offered.
Gypsie2012 picture
Gypsie2012
11/18/11
I knew if it was a brightener it could potentially be unhealthy in the long run, and have avoided them due to my daughters asthmatic reaction to certain dyes and chemicals. You guessed it folks,,some asthmatic sufferers can add brighteners to their long list of skin sensitivity and allergic reaction. Read those lables..if not for yourself, for your children...** cannot be proven** but I have seena difference in chem free detergents with my highly asthmatic child.,.:)
MommaWeeza picture
MommaWeeza
11/17/11
So glad I don't use conventional detergents anymore.
monique0531 picture
monique0531
11/17/11
this is so great i love this stuff
maragret picture
maragret
11/11/11
glad i have been buying seventh since my kids were born thank you
classicofino1 picture
classicofino1
11/11/11
glad i make my own detergent
prplgurl picture
prplgurl
11/10/11
Glad I haven't used stuff like that in years
lcg842 picture
lcg842
11/09/11
Definitely had the same feelings as other folks mentioned above. Thank you for this informative video.
tklein picture
tklein
11/09/11
ackk!!!!
Sunniesideup1981 picture
Sunniesideup1981
11/09/11
That's very scary. Wonder what the long term effects are on people and the environment when using those detergents?
kmbarrett08 picture
kmbarrett08
11/05/11
explains my skin sensitivity
stautnera83 picture
stautnera83
11/04/11
Yikes...
lissy_2 picture
lissy_2
11/04/11
Very informative!
brandygrutter picture
brandygrutter
11/03/11
and I always thought I just had sensitive skin!
staples picture
staples
11/01/11
good to know
molly3 picture
molly3
11/01/11
It musy have been those optical brighteners in my old laundry detergent that made my skin itch so badly!
mmatthees picture
mmatthees
11/01/11
This has made me switch to 7th gen. laundry for good!
itburps picture
itburps
10/31/11
Watched the video - very informative - but no points:( itburps@hotmail.com
kris791 picture
kris791
10/30/11
I had no idea that is scary to what is actually put in laundry detergent.
siahs_mom picture
siahs_mom
10/30/11
I had no idea!!! Will think twice b4 I buy laundry soap again!
sanda55 picture
sanda55
10/30/11
wow
Alicia picture
Alicia
10/27/11
Does this mean that if any clothing glows under blacklight it was washed with optical whiteners? I'm thinking of blacklight parties in college where everything white glowed. Alicia
EddyNason picture
EddyNason
10/26/11
Wow - good job I watched this! With a baby on the way, you can't be too careful!
enizete picture
enizete
10/22/11
that is wild
triciawehner picture
triciawehner
10/19/11
Didn't know that !
angel4022 picture
angel4022
10/17/11
Hmmmm, never seen Optical brighteners glow before, wowwww it makes you wonder what else other companies put in their products to fool the eye, just to make you buy their products, this was certainly interesting, glad I watched I watched the video and demonstration.
malmola picture
malmola
10/15/11
That was so interesting! I had never even heard of optical brighteners.
oanac picture
oanac
10/14/11
I never knew about it ... good info!
sandyjo55 picture
sandyjo55
10/11/11
Interesting video. I love Seventh Generation products!
mcswinkels picture
mcswinkels
10/09/11
And to think I had no idea why "white" clothes would glow under UV light... now I have something to teach the kids about if we're on a dark ride at Disneyland and they're happy that they're glowing! ;) Say no to the glow, kids!
mumzy57 picture
mumzy57
10/08/11
I didn't know that most detergent added this stuff.
Aimiloo picture
Aimiloo
10/07/11
I had no idea and i'm normally pretty into thise stuff!
cin42 picture
cin42
10/06/11
WOW; what an eye opener
Jvachon picture
Jvachon
10/03/11
Had no idea about this
MaryKayK-O picture
MaryKayK-O
10/02/11
We've been using "All small & mighty" free & clear since our daughter is sensitive to fragrances and other additives. Makes sense to switch now.
nepobie picture
nepobie
09/30/11
now i'm not so clueless
reagan picture
reagan
09/28/11
very interesting
Hos picture
Hos
09/23/11
The hunting clothes that China exports to the US are loaded with with UV/Optical brighteners in the camp patterns. Deer see UV light. This means that a jacket with the label "Made in China" will glow like an actylene torch. (No, just kidding about the torch; however, the jacket will glow some, and any glow in the UV range will make that jacket light up -- an undesirable thing when you are hunting deer.
healthminded picture
healthminded
09/23/11
Thanks for enlightening us all about this! I never knew that if shirts light up under a black light that meant they had dangerous chemicals in them!
cyprium picture
cyprium
09/23/11
I guess I knew they were bad, I just didn't know why. Thanks for the info.
IFALLSMICHELLE picture
IFALLSMICHELLE
09/22/11
Very informative, I learned something new. I will definately be staying away from brighteners.
ahyoka picture
ahyoka
09/22/11
I am not sure what happened that made us want to brighten our clothes in this way. Weird. I love Seventh Generation and have been a loyal customer for many years. I was so relieved to know there was HE laundry detergent when I bought my frontloader W/D set 5-6 years ago (and wonderful lavender scent!). The only times I haven't bought SG were when it was sold out and I hated buying some other "free" detergent. Thank you for wonderful products, and educational pieces like this!
jeymi picture
jeymi
09/22/11
that's crazy! i had no idea..
Lindanell picture
Lindanell
09/22/11
another reason I will not use any chemical laundry detergents ever again
annemking picture
annemking
09/22/11
I already knew that but I liked the visual. Thanks!
mysilentmorning picture
mysilentmorning
09/15/11
WOW.
stjimmy73 picture
stjimmy73
09/10/11
All the advertising for Tide and Cheer do seem to center around "brightness" ..i had used some Arm and Hammer "free" detergent but i may switch to 7th Gen as i have with toilet paper , paper towels and for my cleaners. Using 7th Gen also makes my household think twice before wasting paper towels as i do point out, they cost ALOT more. I work for Kroger and with my emp discount i could get 3 store brand rolls for the price of one 7th Gen, however i do not think a tree needs to be cut down for a product used to wipe our faces or other parts :) The sad reality of 7th Gen is that most consumers will look at the price tag and immediately run..they do not realize the cheap price on the "bargain" brands is a very high cost for our planet. Thanks 7th Gen and keep up the high quality products!
ranchofeliz picture
ranchofeliz
09/08/11
I have been a primary care provider for over 20 years. The black light (a Wood's lamp) is a tool that can be used for diagnosing certain skin conditions. Now I know why some patients clothes seem to glow in the dark. Thanks for your interesting video!
Amberlovesyou picture
Amberlovesyou
09/04/11
I notice when I go out in the sun I get little raised bumps...especially where I sweat the most and clothes come into contact with skin. I wonder if that's an allergic reaction..hmmm...Haven't had the problem since I switched to 7th Gen. last month. Very interesting!!!
FloridaFour picture
FloridaFour
08/30/11
I wish we would have known this a long time ago...our kids have eczema and we've tried so many detergents to help their skin.
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