Friday, January 18, 2013

Toxic Air Fresheners

The air in your home may not be so fresh if you are using air fresheners! Anne Steinemann, Ph.D., a professor at the University of Washington says, "chemicals found in air fresheners have been linked to neurological problems, migraines, respiratory difficulties and even cancer,"  Check the ingredient list. Oh wait, there isn't one! That's because manufacturers of air fresheners are not required to label their products with ingredient lists! Many contain phthalates. These chemicals are used to soften plastics and hold scents. Phthalates have been banned in children's toys due to studies that show the chemicals cause hormone disruptions. Dibutyl phthalte has been removed from many nail polishes. Other chemicals found in air fresheners are formaldehyde, petrochemicals, p-dichlorobenzene,  1,4 diclorobenzene, aerosol pollutants and ethylene based glycol ethers.  Also found are terpenes which can react with ozone in the air and create formaldehyde. Many of these chemicals are listed by the EPA as toxic. In fact, the EPA says regarding air fresheners, "please use precautions when using these products". 

The solution? Toss those store bought air freshers and try a natural freshener. Fill a glass bowl with lemon peels, dry coffee grounds or baking soda. Pour some vodka in a spray bottle and spray it in the air. You can at a few drops of essential oil for fragrance. Get some houseplants. Boston Ferns, Rubber Plants and Palms remove formaldeyhye and other indoor pollutants from the air. A little house cleaning with safe cleaners doesn't hurt either!

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