Americans will spend approximately 1.72 billion dollars on air fresheners this year. Air fresheners can provide pleasant smell associations, cover up bad odors and make us feel “different”. This different can include itching, sneezing, wheezing, headache, diarrhea just to name a few.
A study by the University of Bristol analyzed the effects of air fresheners on children: 32 percent more babies suffered diarrhea in homes where they were exposed to air fresheners daily, compared with homes where they were used once a week or less, and they had an increase of earaches in these homes as well. Mothers in the homes with daily use of air fresheners experienced 10 percent more headaches and also had a 26 percent increased risk of depression.
These are the chemicals to look our for:
Benzyl alcohol - causes respiratory problems, nausea, and vomiting, a depressed central nervous system and a drop in blood pressure.
Camphor - currently on the EPA’s Hazardous Waste List, is readily absorbed through bodily tissue and can cause irritation of the eyes, skin, nose and throat, dizziness, confusion, nausea, twitching muscles and convulsions. There is a warning: avoid inhalation of vapors!
Dichlorobenzene - extremely toxic, a central nervous system depressant, kidney and liver poison. One of the chlorinated hydrocarbons that is long-lasting in the environment and is stored in body fat. This chemical is banned in California.
Ethanol - derived from petroleum and is carcinogenic, toxic to the skin, respiratory, cardiovascular, developmental, endocrine, neurological and gastrointestinal systems.
Formaldehyde - toxic if inhaled, poisonous if swallowed and is an irritation for skin and eyes.
If you are still using these items: You should limit your exposure. Make sure you ventilate the room well and be careful not to expose young children to them.
Commercial/Synthetic Air Fresheners:
- Makes the Room Smell Good
- Increases Asthma like symptoms.
- Increases Mucous in nasal passage so you can’t smell odors.
- Narrows the airways along the bronchial tube and cause them to constrict or tighten as synthetic air freshners are Broncho-constrictors.
- Damages the brain or nervous system by killing neurons in the body (contain neurotoxins).
- Damages the liver (contain hepatoxins).
- Decreases fertility (contain reproductive toxins).
- Damages to cellular DNA can result in cell mutations and even lead to cancer due to the Genotoxins (chemical agents that damage DNA).
Therapeutic Grade Essential Oil/Aromatherapy:
- Makes the Room Smell Good
- All Natural
- Boosts immune system
- Improves respiratory function
- Increases focus and clarity
- Eliminates airborne germs
- Reduces environmental toxins
- Reduces anxiety and depression
- Enhances spirituality
Homemade Air Freshener with Essential Oils:
- 4 oz glass spray bottle
- filtered or distilled water
- Essential oil of your choice (I only use Young Living Therapeutic grade oils)
Just mix the ingredients: my favorite room deodorizing, car spray and bathroom spray is 5 drops of Purification and 5 drops of Lemon Oil (Young Living).
Other ways to safely remove odors from the air:
1. Plants naturally purify the air. They won’t remove the odor but do help in purifying the air thus getting to the root problem that may be causing the odor.
2. Use dried herbs made into all natural potpourri or stems of dried eucalyptus can be displayed and helpful in removing odors.
3. Simmer herbs such as cinnamon sticks, cloves, orange peels, lemon peels etc.
4. Clean the garbage disposal by grinding up citrus peelings.
5. Take out the trash or any other odor producing items.
Please consider leaving the commercial air fresheners at the store until they make them safe for your family. You can also visit Environmental Working Group to see how you can get involved in taking action against laws that allow these toxins to be sold to the public. Learn more about removing toxins from your household.
What do you use to tame the odors in your home?
California Environmental Protection Agency Air Resources board: http://www.arb.ca.gov/research/single-project.php?row_id=60560