MUST READ: TOXIC AIR FRESHENERS?
Unfortunately, yes. Scientists have discovered that chemicals commonly found in most household air fresheners, called phthalates, can cause serious health problems. Phthalates are known as endocrine disrupters which in layman's terms means that they are disruptive to the body's hormones. This can lead to birth defects in unborn babies and neurological damage in young children. Some studies have suggested carcinogenic effects.
Cancer-Causing Toxins Found in Air Fresheners:
An MSN article found that being exposed to so-called “air fresheners” as little as once a week can increase your odds of developing asthma by as much as 71% and can contribute to an increase in pulmonary diseases.
A 2006 study found that people with high blood levels of the chemical 1.4 dichlorobenze which is commonly found in popular air fresheners—were more likely to experience a decline in lung function.
Here are some of the ingredients found in the popular metered air fresheners—you know, the ones that are battery-operated and pump out mists of supposed sanitizers several times an hour:
Acetone—is a blood-, heart-, gastrointestinal-, liver-, kidney-, skin-, respiratory-, brain- and nervous system toxin. So, in other words, it can damage just about any part of your body and have a wide range of adverse effects
Butane and Isobutane--Yes, lighter fluid. It a serious toxin to our brain and nervous
Perfume—This single ingredient contains up to 400 different toxic ingredients, 95% of which are derived from petroleum products and are linked to a whole list of serious health conditions ranging from headaches and dizziness to depression and behavioral changes. Check out my article, “What’s Lurking in Febreze?” for more information.
Benzene—known to cause leukemia in humans. Check out my article, “EXPOSED: Is Your Child’s Classroom Toxic?” for more information on benzene and formaldehyde.
Formaldehyde—linked to cancers of the upper airways
They come with warning labels that state “Deliberately…inhaling the vapor of the contents may be harmful or fatal” or “Avoid inhaling spray mist or vapor.” How are we supposed to avoid inhaling something that is constantly being forced into our air space? Also, if inhaling the vapors may be harmful or fatal, why are why intentionally adding them to our air? Seems
We’ve been duped into thinking that we need these products to protect us from harmful bacteria or viruses even though there is no evidence that they actually disinfect the air at all. However, the evidence is mounting that these chemical products harm us…sometimes irreparably.
Air Fresheners Can Trigger Allergies
The most common VOCs found in air fresheners include:
- Esters - formed by condensing an acid with an alcohol. Commonly used for fragrances.
- Formaldehyde - the National Toxicology Program (USA) described formaldehyde as "known to be a human carcinogen." (10th June, 2011). The textile industry uses formaldehyde-based resins to make fabrics crease-resistant. Derivatives are used to manufacture cars, and also to make components for electrical systems, engine blocks, door panels, brake shoes, and axles.
- Limonene - this colorless liquid hydrocarbon has a strong smell of oranges. It is classed as a cyclic terpene. It is used as a precursor to carvone. It is being used increasingly as a solvent for cleaning purposes, e.g. removing oil from machine parts.
- Petroleum Distillates
Even below recommended acceptable levels of VOC can trigger asthma symptoms in children. At higher VOC concentrations, humans can experience dizziness, headaches, irritation of the respiratory tract, eye irritation, and even memory problems, Dr. Fineman explained.
A recent study found that plug-in deodorizers have over 20 VOCs, one third of which were classed as hazardous or toxic.
Some air fresheners have hazardous or toxic levels of VOCs, according to federal guidelines. However, home fragrance sales continue growing relentlessly. The global market for 2015 is expected to reach $8.3 billion.
Natural Air Freshener Alternatives
The good news is that there are numerous ways to freshen any indoor or enclosed space, fabric or carpet without risking your health. Here are a few easy and inexpensive ideas to consider:
- Fill a small jar with some baking soda and add a few drops of essential oil. Place a piece of cheesecloth over the opening of the jar and tie. Set this jar wherever you need freshening.
- Bake a loaf of gluten-free almond or coconut bread.
- Place a simmering pot of water with a cinnamon stick and some orange peels on the stove to freshen up your kitchen.
- Keep your dish disposal and drains clean by pouring in 1/2 cup of baking soda, followed by 1 cup of vinegar – rinse well with hot water.
- Keep a small dish of borax in areas you wish to freshen, it will absorb odors.
- Run white vinegar through your dishwasher once a week.
Homemade Air Freshener
- Fill a medium-sized spray bottle with water
- Add 1 teaspoon peppermint essential oil
- Add 1 teaspoon orange essential oil
- Add 1 teaspoon lemon essential oil
- Shake and spray
We will have a follow-up to many more alternatives in our next Blog Post.
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