Air Freshener Dangerous
Fourteen household air fresheners from the $1.72 billion air freshener industry were analyzed and shown to contain chemicals which may cause reproductive damage and asthma, among other health problems, and are particularly dangerous to children.
Air fresheners are not currently tested or regulated. There are no safety standards that manufactures must uphold. The dangerous chemicals found in these common household air fresheners show a great need to establish such standards.
Consumers are often mislead by these products and assume that anything sold in stores has been tested and is safe. However, the products are often not tested. Only after numerous consumers are injured by a product, is it removed from the shelf. In essence, consumers are trusting guinea pigs. It is helpful to keep an eye on manufacturer recalls and to be wary of manufacturers with poor track records.
The household air fresheners tested proved to contain phthalates, which are hormone disruptors. Some of these products were labeled as "all natural" and/or "unscented". It is useful to know that those claims are not regulated either.
Decisions to buy these products should be based on full disclosure ingredients. Unfortunately many ingredients are hidden by terms like "fragrance". Trade secret laws allow for nondisclosure of proprietary fragrance ingredients. Therefore, manufacturers can, and do, use volatile organic compounds (VOC's) and other dangerous chemicals in their fragrances.
Wal-Mart air freshener had the highest level of phthalates and was subsequently pulled off the shelves.
The more these air fresheners are used, the greater the risk. Several environmental groups including the Sierra Club,
Air fresheners are unnecessary and good alternatives include opening a window or cleaning dirt and debris that causes odor. Air fresheners only mask odor, so the best solution is to address the root cause. Other simple solutions include cleaning and deodorizing with baking soda and white vinegar. Ensuring adequate ventilation is also essential.