by Tiffany Windsor and Candace Liccione
Do you know that commercial air fresheners are hazardous to your health? We have been telling people for many years that air fresheners are not good, but no one was listening. Did you know it is reported that using air fresheners is like smoking 20 cigarettes a day. Let us repeat this – air fresheners contain the same dangerous ingredients that are in cigarettes.
There are 11 common ingredients in air fresheners and cigarettes – 7 chemicals that are toxic to the respiratory system, 2 are toxic to your reproductive system and 2 are toxic for your cardiovascular system. Did you know that it is reported that air fresheners cause lung cancer. Wow!
Look at these stats: there are 600 ingredients in cigarettes and 3,000 chemicals used to make air fresheners. If you see the word “fragrance” in the ingredient list, it is a mixture of several dozens to several hundreds of chemicals. Please consider getting rid of air fresheners in your home and letting people know in public spaces such as office buildings and doctor offices just how bad these air fresheners are so maybe, just maybe, they will stop using them.
During the 1990s, the air freshener market experienced a massive resurgence thanks to the introduction of convenient “plug-in” air fresheners. These air fresheners rely on heat induction technology and special heat-activated scented gels to continually release a scent.
At the time of their introduction, plug-in air fresheners were heralded as being an excellent development in home scenting technology. Not only were they easy to use and affordable, they also didn’t rely on aerosol sprays. Aerosol sprays had come under fire during the 1980s for their harmful effect on the ozone layer. Today, however, consumers are being warned that they should rethink modern air fresheners. As researchers have taken a closer look at these seemingly hassle-free devices, they have discovered an astonishing number of toxic compounds are present in many scented gels.
Did you know that 95% of chemical fragrances are derived from petroleum and it is reported that 34% of people suffer at least one negative side-effect after being exposed to fragranced products. Respiratory and mucosal issues, migraines, skin problems, asthma, neurological and focus problems are side effects of synthetic fragrances.
VOC’s (volatile organic compounds) are one issue.. and in air freshener products tested there were 17 different VOC’s. The test products contained 1 to 8 toxic or hazardous chemicals. Some of the chemicals are ethanol and acetone; Limonene (a popular synthetic citrus smell that interacts with ozone in the air to create secondary pollutants like formaldehyde), benzene (aka toxic tail pipe exhaust) is a pollutant which can cause drowsiness, dizziness, rapid or irregular heartbeat, headaches, tremors, unconsciousness, and confusion and phthalates which can cause low testosterone, asthma, wheezing, reproductive abnormalities, and altered DNA in sperm.
Here's how it works: When you use air fresheners, phthalates are released into the air where you might inhale them or absorb them through your skin. Once phthalates get into your bloodstream, they can alter hormone levels and cause health problems.
The air fresheners from the study that had phthalates in them are:
Air Wick Scented Oil
Febreze NOTICEables Scented Oil
Glade Air Infusions
Glade PlugIn Scented Oil
Lysol Brand II Disinfectant
Oust Air Sanitizer Spray
Oust Fan Liquid Refills
Ozium Glycol-ized Air Sanitizer
Walgreens Air Freshener Spray (had the highest levels of phthalates by far)
Walgreens Scented Bouquet Air Freshener
The scariest part? You can't find "phthalates" on any of these air fresheners ingredients. Thus why the word "hidden" was added to this particular study's title.
We can’t say this enough! Get these artificial air fresheners out of your homes! It’s easy to replace them with essential oil diffusers. Besides some of the popular traditional scents like lavender essential oil or wild orange essential oil, there are beautiful blends that are quite uplifting or calming depending on the mood you want to set!
Another all-natural way to get rid of nasty smells is by wrapping cloves and cinnamon in cheesecloth and boiling them in water. Yet another consists of leaving herbal bouquets standing in open dishes where the fragrance can dissipate throughout a room. And don't underestimate the air-cleansing power of houseplants, which can improve indoor air quality by filtering toxins out of the air. Mother Nature Network reports that aloe vera plants can filter benzene and formaldehyde out of the air, that spider plants are known for their ability to take xylene and carbon monoxide out of the indoor environment, and that gerber daisies excel at removing the trichloroethylene that may come home with your dry cleaning.