You’ve cleaned the house and are about to wrap up. The last step is to spray your air freshener around the room and on the fabric to give your space that extra fresh smell. Sound like a familiar activity in your home? Depending on what products you use, you could be introducing deadly toxins into your air.
Chemicals in Air Fresheners.
The topic of toxins in air fresheners has been studied by countless organizations and reported by even more. The results have been consistent. Products purchased for the sole purpose of freshening the air either as a spray, plug in, gel, or otherwise have a high likelihood of containing toxins. Use as infrequently as once per week can result in significant risks. The risk of developing asthma increases by over 70% with a once-per-week usage.
Don’t assume the products you purchase are all safety tested. When the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) studied the effects of air fresheners, they identified that these products do not undergo safety testing. Air fresheners are produced by chemical companies. Those companies are self-regulated with laws that protect them from disclosing patented ingredients. Those ingredients are protected as trade secrets.
Here are some common ingredients found in air fresheners:
- Acetone: A toxin that can damage heart, intestines, liver, kidneys, lungs, and nervous system.
- Benzene: Cancer causing toxin.
- Butane and Isobutane: Toxin for the nervous system.
- Dichlorobenzene: Causes significant respiratory problems and has been documented to have killed hundreds of pet birds. Incidentally, dichlorobenzene is one of the main ingredients in the pesticide DDT.
- Formaldehyde: Links to various cancers.
- Perfume / Fragrance: This is typically a proprietary concoction and can include any of hundreds of toxic ingredients.
- Petroleum Gas: Works as a fuel but has no business being in our air.
- Phthalates: Known to interfere with the production of testosterone and have been associated with reproductive abnormalities. They are especially dangerous to children and unborn babies.
- Propane: Another fuel that causes problems with the liver, kidneys, lungs, and nervous system.
What You Can Do.
The chemicals which are used in air fresheners (and many cleaners) build up in the fatty tissue over time. As you get older, the risks grow. The best things you can do is avoid these chemicals all together.
- Verify the list of air fresheners tested by NRDC. Those are confirmed safe.
- Freshen your home naturally by using natural cleaners.
- Share what you’ve learned with others.
If you’re still looking for an alternative to store bought air fresheners, try baking soda. It absorbs the odors rather than masks them with harmful chemicals. You can also use a couple drops of an essential oil to provide that fragrance you love.
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