When it comes to toilet paper, people tend to use the softest and the whites paper possible, but the thing is that this type of paper is the most toxic one and it can harm our body. Over 100,000 chemicals are being used in commercial paper products and one of the most dangerous is chlorine.
Unfortunately, it is present in most of the products we use on a daily basis like in milk cartons, paper towels, coffee filters, baby wipes, etc. Our skin absorbs this toxin which gets into our blood system. Most conventional toilet papers are processed with chlorine bleach which creates dangerous toxins like dioxin and furans. They accumulate in our body creating dangerous situation for our overall health.
Why Your White Toilet Paper is Toxic
Our toilet paper is so white because the manufacturers use chlorine dioxide in order to bleach it. During this process, dioxin and furans are created which are cancer0causing chemicals that are present in the air. It has been discovered that even low levels of exposure can cause various health conditions like cancer, hormone imbalances (dioxin is a hormone disruptor), immune system impairments, reduced fertility and birth defects.
Our body is not able to expel these toxins and as a result of that, they accumulate over time creating a very dangerous situation. According to many different studies, there is a link between high workplace exposure to dioxins and an increased risk of cancer. For instance, if you make your coffee using conventional paper filters, 40-70% of the filters dioxins can leach into your coffee.
Unfortunately, bleached paper is one of the most carcinogenic chemicals known to science. The Toilet Paper Encyclopedia explains, “Many pulp and paper mills use chlorine-based chemicals to bleach pulp white. These chemicals react with organic molecules in the wood and other fibers to create many toxic byproducts, including dioxin. Chlorinated toilet paper contains the highest amount of furans out of all cosmetic tissues… Dioxin, a bleaching byproduct, is one of the most toxic human-made chemicals. Once released into the environment, it is persistent because natural bacteria cannot effectively break it down. ‘Dioxin’ is often used as a catchall term for three acutely toxic chemical groups: true dioxins, furans and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs).”
Other Chemicals in Toilet Paper
Besides dioxin, conventionally manufactured toilet papers contain many other dangerous chemicals as well, like the following ones
Bisphenol A (BPA):
According to 2012 study on BPA, the concentrations [of BPA] are very high in paper products. This includes recycled toilet paper.
Another study states that formaldehyde is used in order to improve the wet-strength and other “valued” characteristics of paper and paper products. Formaldehyde is considered as carcinogen.
Luckily, there are many other safer ways to make bleached paper among which is using oxygen based bleaching compounds.
Here are a few safer options when it comes to toilet paper:
- Totally Chlorine Free (TCF): Non-recycled paper bleached with oxygen, ozone, or hydrogen.
- Unbleached: Completely natural – no bleach added. May not be a winner on softness or comfort.
- Processed Chlorine Free (PCF): Recycled paper bleached with oxygen, ozone or hydrogen peroxide. Examples of brands with PCF toilet paper: Seventh Generation, Green Forest, Planet, 365 Whole Foods, Earth First. See the NRDC’s toilet paper comparison chart.