Do you use air fresheners? Do you think they actually freshen your air? Well, from watching television commercials, you would think that they are made out of flowers and do freshen your air -- as if you had placed fresh cut flowers all round your house. However, most air fresheners actually have the opposite effect and make your home's indoor air more polluted!
Our homes today already typically have very poor air quality due to many chemicals that are now found in our cleaning products, home building materials like paints, carpets and cabinets, and home furnishings like mattresses, couches and more. In fact, even if your air is typically polluted outside where you live, it's a good bet that the air inside your home is more polluted than it is outside. So do you really want to make your indoor air quality even worse with so-called air fresheners??
Study Showed Mice Died From Exposure to Air Fresheners
Chemically sensitive people and people with asthma have long complained of bad health effects from breathing air fresheners. But now a study has actually looked at the health effects of air fresheners. Even with exposures of just one hour, at levels to which many people are actually exposed in their own homes, increased lung irritation as well as asthma-type symptoms and behavioral changes were seen. Some of the mice even died when they had to breathe in the air freshener fumes.
As another part of their study, the researchers added an air freshener to a freshly painted room, to see if it would actually make the air quality better, as many people assume. Instead, respiratory and behavioral symptoms increased, which only makes sense when you realize that the air fresheners emit volatile organic compounds (VOCs), like most paints do.
Air Fresheners Do NOT Freshen Your Air and Can Be Dangerous
In the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS), the manufacturer actually recommends that you use a vapor respirator "…if the vapor concentration is high due to heat." They readily admit that "breathing high concentrations of vapor in excess of the permitted exposure level may cause headache, nervousness, dizziness, tremors, fatigue, and nausea." There is no suggestion of the allowed exposure level, and no idea of how someone can avoid exceeding it. The conclusion after reading this study is that "air fresheners", including solid sticks, oil-based and other plug-ins and sprays should NOT be used to cover up smells in your home, your school or your office. They are clearly just adding to the chemicals you have to breathe in and are causing adverse health reactions in many people.
Even if you don't have chemical sensitivities or asthma, you will be doing yourself and your family a favor to not use air fresheners. Many people have remarked how when they stopped using air fresheners and fragrances in their homes, perhaps for the sake of someone else, various health problems got better, like headaches, fatigue, insomnia and more.
Instead of using an air freshener, try just keeping your house clean and opening the windows often to get in some fresh air. If you still want to add some type of scent to your home, investigate using natural pot-pourri with natural organic essential oils instead of the synthetic, petro-chemical based fragrances.
NOTE: There is also some evidence that fragrances, including those from air fresheners and laundry detergents, have an "addictive" quality. This may be why some people love the scents that are emitted from them. This does not change the toxicity of the chemicals used to make these scents, however, and it is really advisable that you stop using all synthetic fragrances.