Dangers Air Freshener:
of Toxic Air Fresheners
Dr. Ben Kim
you use synthetic air fresheners in your car and/or living space, you should know
that you are increasing your risk of developing a variety of health problems.
Headaches, earaches, depression, an irregular heart beat, and diarrhea in babies
are just a few of many health challenges that have been linked with regular use
of synthetic air fresheners.
report that was released in September of 2007 by the Natural Resources Defense
Council found that 12 of 14 brands of common household air fresheners contained
phthalates. Phthalates are chemicals that are used to prolong
the length of time that scented products maintain their fragrance. Regular exposure
to phthalates can increase your risk of experiencing endocrine, reproductive,
and developmental problems. Amazingly, some of the brands that tested positive
for phthalates did not include phthalates on their lists of ingredients; some
of these brands were even labeled as being "all-natural" and "unscented."
response to this study, the National Resources Defense Council produced the following
list that indicates the presence or absence of phthalates in common air fresheners:
levels of phthalates:
Air Freshener Spray (removed from shelves)
Scented Bouquet Air Fresheners (removed from shelves)
Solid Air Fresheners (removed from shelves)
Glycolized Air Sanitizer
levels of phthalates:
Wick Scented Oil
NOTICEables Scented Oil
PlugIn Scented Oil
Air Sanitizer Spray
levels or no phthalates detected:
Air Effects Air Refresher
Brand II Disinfectant
Fan Liquid Refills
note that having no phthalates does not make synthetic air fresheners safe to
use in your car or home. The vast majority of synthetic air fresheners emit significant
amounts of terpene, a volatile organic compound that can react with naturally
occurring ozone to create formaldehyde. Ozone, a form of oxygen,
exists at some level both indoors and outdoors, so formaldehyde formation is practically
inevitable wherever synthetic air fresheners are used. Indoor environments which
may have elevated levels of ozone include those where photocopiers and ozone-generating
air purifiers are used.
should you be concerned about being exposed to formaldehyde? Formaldehyde
is classified as a human carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on
strong links to phthalates and formaldehyde, it's not surprising that a study
that was recently published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical
Care Medicine indicates that regular use of sprays can increase your risk
of developing asthma by 30 to 50 percent. This study was performed by
the European Community Respiratory Health Survey, and collected data from 3,500
people in 10 European countries.
your health is best served by saying no to synthetic air fresheners and any other
synthetic products that are designed to emit a prolonged artificial scent.
are some simple and natural ways of keeping your car and living space smelling
fresh without the use of chemical-laden air fresheners:
your windows - even just a crack during cold weather - for at least 30 minutes
a day. Weather permitting, it's best to keep your windows open all the time, assuming
that you don't live in a heavily polluted area.
baking soda on carpets before you vacuum.
a box of baking soda open in the room.
natural (preferably organic) potpourri in a bowl out in the open, or put into
little sachets to keep around the house.
a friendly gathering of indoor plants in your living and work spaces.
the garbage and compost out every day.
share this article with friends and family members who use synthetic air fresheners
in their cars, homes, and work places. Thank you.
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