Many chemical toxicants are emitted during air-freshener use including "d-limonene, dihydromyrcenol, linalool, linalyl acetate, and beta-citronellol, which were emitted at 35-180 mg/day over 3 days while air concentrations averaged 30-160 microg/m3" in a recent study (Singer et al, 2006). Maternal depression is also significantly associated with air fresheners (Farrow et al, 2003). One name brand air freshener, which contains short chain aliphatic hydrocarbons caused ventricular fibrillation, which could be fatal, when inhaled during tests (LoVecchio & Fullton, 2001).
In a 1997 study emissions of "air freshener at several concentrations (including concentrations to which many individuals are actually exposed) caused increases in sensory and pulmonary irritation, decreases in airflow velocity, and abnormalities of behavior measured by the functional observational battery score" (Anderson & Anderson, 1997). Cleaning removes the source of odor. If something is clean there is no odor nor is there a fragrance. Often visible dirt can be seen despite the fragrances in the air, indicating a home is fragranced and dirty rather than clean and fresh. There are many safe and natural alternatives to air fresheners including baking soda, white vinegar, peroxide, and other inexpensive household items that do the job just as well as commercial cleaners for pennies on the dollar.
Salvador and the members of MCS America suggest that people think back to the simple tricks grandma used to use to clean and deodorize the home before chemical products emerged on the market. Brochures with tips for various cleaning projects can be found on their homepage at http://www.mcs-america.org/. There are alternatives that exist and are economical. Manufacturers have convinced us through mass marketing that we need their products in the name of sales, instilling a fear of germs with statements from studies that are misleading. We do not have to become victims of profit.
Air-freshening chemicals may lead to cancerous cells (2006) Denver Post. Nation: World News. Retrieved May 15, 2006 from: http://www.denverpost.com/search/ci_3823832
Anderson, RC, & Anderson, JH (1997) Toxic effects of air freshener emissions. Archives of Environmental Health. 52(6):433-41.
Anderson, RC, & Anderson, JH (1998) Acute toxic effects of fragrance products. Archives of Environmental Health. 53(2):138-46.
Farrow, A, Taylor, H, Northstone, K, Golding, J (2003). Symptoms of mothers and infants related to total volatile organic compounds in household products. Archives of Environmental Health. 58(10):633-41.
Lovechio, F, & Fullton, SE (2001). Ventricular fibrillation following inhalation of Glade Air Freshener. European Journal of Emergency Medicine. 8(2):153-4.
Singer, BC, Destaillats, H, Hodgson, AT, Nazaroff, WW (2006). Cleaning products and air fresheners: emissions and resulting concentrations of glycol ethers and terpenoids. Indoor Air. 16(3):179-91.
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