Air Fresheners, the grocery isle’s are FULL of spray and plug-in air fresheners, luring you in with such words as “Rejuvenate Your Home with Fresh Fragrance”, “Eliminate Odors, Bacteria & Mold”, “Fill your home with continuous, fresh fragrance” and on and on, promising fresh air!
Air fresheners do not “purify” the surrounding air. They coat the nasal passages with an oily film (such as methoxychlor – a pesticide that accumulates in fat cells) or they release a nerve deadening agent interfering with our sense of smell (Febreze). Various harmful substances in air fresheners include allergens, potential carcinogens such as acetaldehyde or styrene, dangerous substances such as toluene and chlorobenzene, glycol ethers, and phthalates.
So that is alot of BIG words, let’s break it down…..
- Phthalates – (pronounced thal-ates) Studies show that they affect hormone levels, cause birth defects and significant adverse effects on physical growth and pubertal maturity. There is also a link between obesity and endocrine disruption as well as metabolic interference (diabetes, thyroid, etc.)
- BHT – Known as a neurotoxin, endocrine disruptor, immunotoxicity, non-reproductive organ system toxicity, and irritates the skin ,eyes and lungs
- Acetaldehyde – Known to cause cancer, toxic to reproduction and development, immunotoxin, non-reproductive organ system toxin, and irritates the skin, eyes and lungs
- “Fragrance” – Contains over 400 toxic ingredients, 95% of which are derived from petroleum products, it’s a neurotoxin, immunotoxin and allergen
- Propylene Glycol – Causes cancer, allergies, toxic to immune system, accumulates in the system, non-reproductive organ system toxin, is classified with “enhanced skin absorption” and irritates the skin, eyes and lungs
YIKES!! That is just a PARTIAL list too! A great place to go look at ratings on air-fresheners and cleaning products is the Environmental Working Groups website (www.ewg.org) where they rate chemicals from low to high concern.