Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Beware of the Air

With bringing a new baby home soon we have started to think about the items that we have in our home. A friend made a joke last week about home air fresheners causing cancer like so many other things and it got me thinking. Yesterday I was in Bath and BodyWorks and saw they had a sale on their Wallflowers. I love the fragrances they have so I picked up two. When I got home and showed K them he logged on and searched for anything that might have information about any harmful causes. He found two sites that had something to say but didn't mention the Wallflowers.

"For all those who thought fragranced products were great ways to spruce up the home, a bit of a warning.

A study published in the Environmental Impact Assessment Review journal says that most fragranced products for the home emit a number of toxic chemicals into the air, deteriorating your indoor air quality and endangering your health."

"According to a 2007 study, the majority of household air fresheners contain industrial chemicals called phthalates (pronounced thal-ates). The use of air fresheners cause phthalates to be released into the air, where they can be inhaled or absorbed.

There is evidence that phthalate exposure can cause hormonal abnormalities and it has been linked to birth defects and reproductive harm, particularly in males. Phthalates are rarely listed on labels, although they are a main ingredient for fragrance.

According to the American Academy of Dermatology, fragrance is the number-one cause of allergic cosmetic reactions. Exposure to phthalates has also been associated with asthma and upper airway irritation. There's more.

The aroma of citrus and pine oil in many products, including air fresheners, is refreshing, thanks in part to chemicals called terpenes. Although terpenes are not toxic, they have been found to react with ozone to produce a variety of toxic compounds, including formaldehyde.

Formaldehyde and benzene have been detected in some air fresheners. Formaldehyde has been linked to cancers of the upper airways and benzene is known to cause leukemiain humans. Let's turn to what products you should stay clear of.

As part of a 2007 study, Natural Resources Defense Council researchers found that these four air fresheners contain highest level of phthalates: Ozium Glycol-ized Air Sanitizer and Walgreens' Air Freshener Spray, Scented Bouquet Air Freshener and Solid Air Freshener. More on this study next.

Moderate chemical levels were found in Air Wick Scented Oil, Febreze NOTICEables Scented Oil, Glade Air Infusions, Glade PlugIn Scented Oil and Oust Air Sanitizer Spray. Citrus Magic, Lysol Brand II Disinfectant and Oust Fan Liquid Refills were found to have trace levels of phthalates. And those in the clear...Just two air fresheners came up smelling like roses: Febreze Air Effects Air Refresher and Renuzit Subtle Effects. Does that mean you should spray away to your heart's content?

The take away is to be cautious about (over)use of air fresheners. They are not a solution for poor air quality and cannot substitute for good ventilation. The best solution is the simplest: Open the windows or use fans to maintain air circulation."


Just Beachy said...

THat all makes so much sense , I get an immediate headache when I am around these type of products , they are also known to supress immune systems. Everything I use is fragance free and color free starting with laundry detergent and fabric softener, our oldest daughter had the worst exzema when she was an infant , so we switched right to unscented and gentle products. there are great natural baby products now . always went with scent free babywipes as well.
I can not even wear perfume anymore , used to but it causes breathing problems and massive headaches , I always hold my breath when walking into sears or the bay , that is so awful the assault on the senses.
Beware of magic erasers , full or formaldehyde as well known to cause cancer...
Baking soda is a great odour remover for carpets and furniture.

Anonymous said...

yikes! I had no idea! thanks for the post :)

XO - kb