Air fresheners have become the norm when it comes to our efforts to create what we hope will be a clean smelling, indoor atmosphere. Unfortunately, these products contain phthalates and other hazardous chemicals that are known to cause a wide variety of health problems.
Phthalates Health Hazards
Phthalates are actually used in numerous consumer products, including nail polish (as adhesives), to soften the plastics used in children’s toys and in the fragrances used in common, over the counter air fresheners. When you use traditional air fresheners, phthalates are discharged into the air, landing on the skin where it is absorbed as well as inhaled. Once these harsh chemicals enter the bloodstream, they have the potential to cause numerous health issues.
Health issues caused by phthalates include reproductive health issues, birth defects, hormonal abnormalities and allergy and asthma issues. The National Resources Defense Council’s (NRDC’s) impartial testing of 14 popular air fresheners discovered phthalates in over 85% of the products they tested, even those that didn’t list it as an ingredient. So, before you go crazy spraying your home or office with one of today’s popular over the counter air fresheners, touting names like “Country Fresh”, “Apple Spice”, “Fresh Linen” or “Tropical Sunrise”, you’ll want to learn more about their ingredients and the harmful effects they can cause.
Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)
Most commercially sold scented air fresheners contain hazardous volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that include limonene, benzene, formaldehyde and petroleum distillates that are known to induce asthma and various other respiratory symptoms, cause eye irritation as well as leukemia and bone damage. Scented air fresheners also contain additional toxic chemicals like camphor, benzyl alcohol, camphor, ethanol, dichlorobenzene, pinene, phenol, and naphthalene.
All Natural Air Fresheners
Presented with all the possible health issues caused by air fresheners, it’s important to start looking for “true” all natural, non-toxic options. If weather and location permits, throwing open a window or two can certainly freshen up a home or office. Let’s face it – there’s nothing quite like good old-fashioned fresh air to chase away stale air. Also, don’t undervalue the air purifying abilities of houseplants, which can boost indoor air quality by magically filtering toxins chemicals out of the air. Studies have found that aloe vera plants have the ability to filter formaldehyde and benzene out of the air as well. In addition, spider plants are recognized for their ability to help remove carbon monoxide and xylene out of an indoor environment. You know those cheerful Gerber daisies we all love? They can remove trichloroethylene from the air, a chemical that is usually contained in dry cleaning.
If the weather isn’t cooperating, try filling a spray bottle with a combination of 3 tablespoons of baking soda and 3 to 4 cups of water. Using the fine mist setting, spritzing a bit around your home will help neutralize odors. You can replace the baking soda with a few drops of all natural essential oils as well (lavender, lemon, etc.). You can also purchase all natural air fresheners that are infused with healthy essential oils that not only dissipate household odors but leave you feeling happier, healthier and even more energetic (Pure Care’s soon to be released air fresheners).
As consumers, we have the right to know what we’re bringing into our homes via everyday products like air fresheners and feeling confident that the products we purchase are safe. There are too many household products on the shelves today that consumers assume are safe, but have in reality never even been tested. That being said, there are products that you can count and that includes everything sold under the Pure Care name.