If you want a place to smell fresh or pretty and have the urge to use a room deodorizer, please think again. Those are harmful artificial chemicals you’re putting in the air. They are toxic volatile organic compounds (VOCs) into the air you breathe. Exposure to VOCs can cause nausea, headaches, drowsiness, sore throat, dizziness, AND impaired memory. Long-term exposure may even cause cancer.
Here is information contained on Getridofsmells.com from Oreck:
But in spite of what manufacturers would have us believe, air fresheners do not “purify” the surrounding air, nor do they add natural fragrances. In fact, they coat the nasal passages with an oil film (such as methoxychlor – a agent (www.consumerlawpage.com), to drown out whatever smells may be deemed offensive.
Various harmful substances in air fresheners include allergens, potential carcinogens such as acetaldehyde or styrene, dangerous substances such as toluene and chlorbenzene, glycol ethers, phthalates and artificial musk.
Paradichchlorobenzene (a white, solid crystal) has been shown to cause cancer in laboratory animals, and phenol (carbolic acid) is flammable, corrosive and very toxic. (Alive: Something in the Air, February 2004)
Even more dangerous, formaldehyde, (admitted by the EPA to be a cause of cancer), and benzene (a carcinogen for which the WHO recommends zero exposure), may hang around the air after the use of several types of incense or electric scenter. Not to mention all the other chemicals not mentioned here and about which we know nothing. (WECF, 2005)
Most of these chemicals have never been the subject of an in-depth toxicological study, and the effects on health and the environment have not been subjected to sufficient evaluation before the products were launched onto the market. When used in a confined area, like a homes, at work, or cars, they create an intense amount of toxins in a small area.
The following list of ingredients that may be found in air fresheners is taken from “Clinical Toxicology of Commercial Products”, by Gosselin, Smith and Hodge, 1984.
Spray Type Deodorizers:
ethyl or isopropyl alcohol
surfactant (quaternary ammonium salts)
petroleum distillates (6.0%)
bromsalicylanilide 2,3,4,5-BIS(2-butylene) tetrahydrofural
pine oil (toxicity like turpentine)
Wick Type Deodorizers:
aromatic chemicals (xylene)
Several of these components are well-known carcinogens, and others have a wide range of immediate and long-term toxic effects on vital organs. The cumulative effect their mix has on human health is largely unknown. But it is safe to say that these products represent a real risk to health not only of allergy sufferers, asthmatics, pregnant or nursing women and children, but also to anyone using them continuously.
According to a September 2007 report released by the Natural Resources Defence Council (NRDC), these noxious chemicals may even affect hormones and reproductive development.
Another harmful ingredient is called 1, 4-dichlorobenzene, or 1,4-DCB, which could harm your lungs, according to a study by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.
The study – published in Environmental Health Perspectives – analysed the effect of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) such as 1,4 DCB on the lung function of 953 adult men and women. Of the 11 chemicals studied, only 1,4 DCB was linked to a reduction in pulmonary function; a link found to be significant even when smoking was factored in. This could be serious for those with asthma or other lung problems. Reduced lung function is also a risk factor for heart disease, stroke, and lung cancer. (WebMD July 27, 2006)
This chemical is usually found in space deodorizing products, such as room fresheners, urinal cakes and toilet bowl fresheners, and is used as an insecticide for moth control. It can also be found in things like tobacco smoke, paints, cleaning products and vehicle exhausts, and is detectable in 96 percent of population blood samples. (www.newstarget.com)
Why have people fallen for advertising and decided that everything and everywhere has to be scented? If you really, really want things to smell nice, there are natural alternatives that are not toxic to you, your children, your grandchildren or your pets and I strenuously suggest you use them instead. The life you will be saving may be your own.