Air fresheners

Various studies have revealed the presence of some very problematic chemicals in certain commercial air fresheners.

The use of these products can cause an unwanted quantity of certain chemicals in the air we breathe in our homes such as benzene, toluene, styrene, formaldehyde, artificial musk, phthalates etc. These are chemicals which have been linked by numerous studies to many different issues.

The European Association for Consumer Groups have previously alerted us to the presence of harmful chemicals, some of which are carcinogenic, in air fresheners and aromatherapy products. The detailed report reviewed a number of different health effects (e.g. irritations, childhood asthma, allergies and reproduction problems) that have been linked to the exposure to certain compounds.

In Spain, the OCU (Organisation for Consumers and Users) contributed to that report and asked for the banning of many of the products covered in the report.

Another report by the NRDC showed that 12 out of the 14 air fresheners they tested contained phthalates, including some products which were marketed as “natural”. Naturally, none of these products’ labels gave reference to the presence of these chemicals.

There have also been several different scientific investigations that have linked the use of some air fresheners to health problems particularly in women and children.

However, you don’t always need to rely on reading these reports to be able to notice the possible risks involved; you need only read the products’ labels carefully. Despite the fact they do not give sufficient detail on the individual chemicals they may contain, some of them do state that they contain substances like aliphatic hydrocarbons (a group of chemicals within which some are considered very serious).

These labels, although they do not detail exactly the chemicals they use, do give a series of important warnings and advice, especially for products sold for use in enclosed spaces. For example, they may state things like: “Don’t inhale aerosols” or “Only use in well ventilated spaces”. Some labels ask that, before you use their product, you remove any birds and animals from the room.

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