Cancer or reproductive defects

Very few people know the potential health risk associated with using air fresheners in their homes. Many of these products could contain toxic chemicals known as phthalates which can cause hormonal abnormalities, birth defects and even reproductive problems.

A recent investigation of 14 common air fresheners by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) found hormone-disrupting chemicals known as phthalates in 12 products, including some fresheners marketed as “all-natural” and “unscented.” None of the air fresheners listed phthalates on their labels. The air fresheners NRDC tested included aerosol sprays, liquids that emit a continuous scent, and a solid. NRDC’s testing was limited, but the results do suggest that more comprehensive, in-depth testing of air fresheners is warranted. Air fresheners are used indoors, heightening the threat of exposure to families.

A study (by the University of Bristol called “Children of the ’90s”, which has followed the health and development of 14,000 children since before birth) didn’t analyse the ingredients in air fresheners, just the effects: 32% more babies suffered diarrhea in homes where air fresheners were used every day, and they had significantly more earaches in these homes as well. Air fresheners also affected mothers—those who used them daily suffered nearly 10% more headaches. Perhaps most surprising is the finding that women who lived in homes with daily air freshener use had a 26% increased risk of depression.

Researchers have suggested that strong regulations need to be set in motion to protect consumers, such as having all manufacturers test and submit data on the levels of toxicity and health effects of inhaling the chemicals.

All is not lost if you wish to keep your home smelling fresh. Simple ways to freshen your surroundings naturally include:

-opening the shades and windows to bring in air and sunlight;

-burn pure beeswax candles that purify and clean the air;

-leave an open box of baking soda open;

-use indoor plants;

-simmer cinnamon and cloves, fresh ginger or herbs in water on the stovetop; or

-use potpourris.

Learn more about effectively removing  odour & bacteria forever at

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