Air fresheners by their commonality may seem harmless enough for providing a clean fresh scent indoor scent. However, in a study by the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) many air freshener products contain phthalates, hazardous chemicals known to cause hormonal abnormalities, birth defects and reproductive problems. NRDC’s independent testing of 14 common air fresheners, none of which listed phthalates as an ingredient, uncovered these chemicals in 86 percent of the products tested.
Time Magazine, however, raised questions about the research. “While the study looked at which air fresheners contain the chemicals and how much, it did not assess people’s exposure to phthalates from these products — the size of the room, the distance from the air freshener and how long a person stays in the room are all factors that would affect potential toxicity.”
“We’re not saying that there’s any clear-cut evidence here for health effects,” says Dr. Gina Solomon of the NRDC. “If consumers want to reduce overall exposure, avoid these products or pick ones with lower levels.”
Some fresh air alternatives
If there are health concerns about air fresheners, here are some alternatives for improved indoor air quality:
- Open the Windows-There is no substitute for good ventilation
- Houseplants-Scientists funded by NASA say their research shows that plants clean indoor air. These scientists and other vigorous advocates say that plants have been cleaning the earth’s atmosphere for millions of years, why not your indoor air as well?
- Air purifiers- safely removes 99.97% of airborne particles as small as 0.3 microns!
Why Purify Your Indoor Air? Learn more
Make Sure Your Air Purifier has the right filters: see the video