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What Are the Dangers of Scotchgard?

Updated July 20, 2017

Protecting your furniture with Scotchgard can guarantee a longer life for your investment, but this household chemical can cause danger in your home. It's important to understand the warnings that come with household products so you can better protect yourself and family members from hazards caused by these chemicals.

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Scotchgard PFOS Phase Out

In a 3M news publication in May of 2000, the maker of Scotchgard announced it was phasing out the perfluorooctanyl chemistry used to produce Scotchgard and other repellent and surfactant products. These substances are flourocarbons related to CFCs, which are banned ozone depleters. Though research is still out, perfluorooctane substances (PFOS) lab tests have shown to produce liver damage and birth defects as well as many other effects in lab animals.

The Switch to PFBS

After phasing out PFOS chemicals, 3M switched to perflourobutane, or PFBS, in Scotchgard. This change caused the Center of Disease Control to begin tracking new chemicals such as this when the enter the market. According to the Environmental Working Group, PFBS is related to biochemical and cellular level changes, birth defects, cancer, damage to the brain and nervous system, and organ system toxicity.

Scotchgard is Flammable

Scotchgard products contain acetone and other highly flammable chemical agents. It also comes in an aerosol container, which contains flammable material under pressure. If you expose closed containers to heat, they may expand and explode. Also, vapours from Scotchgard are capable of travelling distances on the ground and in the air toward an ignition source. Use with caution and never leave containers in high heat areas or near a fire. Also never smoke while using Scotchgard.

Other Potential Health Effects

Scotchgard may cause mild eye irritation if it comes in contact with your eyes. This may cause redness, irritation and swelling. If you inhale this product, it may irritate your respiratory tract causing coughing, sneezing, headaches and throat pain. Ingesting Scotchgard may result in abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea. When coming into contact with your skin, Scotchgard can cause redness, swelling and dryness. Always use with caution and keep away from children.

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About the Author

Kellie Davis graduated magna cum laude from Florida Gulf Coast University, earning a B.A. in English. She is a full-time sports nutrition writer, fitness blogger and freelance copywriter.

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