Are Those Spray Air Fresheners Killing Us?

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Have ever looked at those little boxes in public toilets which pump out spray air fresheners all day and wondered how safe they really are to breathe in? Maybe you haven’t and that’s ok. I never thought about it until I started looking into the impact various chemicals have on my hormones. Now I feel like I’m on a bit of a mission to let other women know about these things.

Air fresheners generally contain synthetic fragrances to mask odours and give a more pleasant smell to the room. However what most people don’t know is that these synthetic fragrances contain phthalates (pronounced thal-ates). These hazardous chemicals are known to cause hormonal abnormalities, birth defects, and reproductive problems. What is even more scary is that even products labelled as all natural and unscented can contain phthalates. Independent testing by the Natural Resources Defense Council of 14 common air fresheners, none of which listed phthalates as an ingredient, uncovered these chemicals in 86 percent (12 of 14) of the products tested, including those advertised as “all- natural” or “unscented.”

Are air fresheners toxic?

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According to Anne Steinemann (2015 Air Quality, Atmosphere & Health) a professor of civil engineering at the University of Melbourne one-quarter of the ingredients in air fresheners are classified as toxic or hazardous.

“Ultimately your risk depends on exposure,” she says. “You don’t have to have symptoms. Just because it doesn’t kill you, it doesn’t mean it’s not harming you. Some effects are not immediately obvious.”

Air Fresheners can coat your nasal passages with an oil film and/or reduce your ability to smell odours. This can lead to a loss of smell over time or desensitisation to particular smells. People then use more of the product so they can actually smell it. I no longer use synthetic fragrances in my home. I feel overwhelmed by the scent of laundry detergents and fabric softeners when I walk down that aisle in the supermarket. 

What other nasty chemicals are in air fresheners?

Air fresheners often contain Formaldehyde – a highly toxic material that can irritate eyes, nose, throat, and skin. High exposure can cause nausea, headaches, nosebleeds, dizziness, memory loss and shortness of breath.

Another chemical included in air fresheners is Phenol, a skin irritant that can cause swelling, burning, and peeling. High doses of Phenol can also cause cold sweats, convulsions, circulatory collapse, coma, and even death.

There have been reports of emotional side effects after prolonged use of air fresheners. Block-type fresheners, and those often used in toilet bowls, usually contain paradichlorobenzene (PDB), an organochlorine. PDB has a strong odour masking other smells but has been associated with liver and nerve damage. It is also found in moth balls, paints, household cleaning products and vehicle exhaust fumes.

But what is the alternative?

Diffusing all natural plant based essential oils. This is a great way to reap the benefits of your favourite essential oils and make your home smell nice, too. On a physical level, essential oils can help combat biological contaminants by binding to the airborne molecules of fat that typically carry unpleasant odours. Citrus essential oils make terrific air fresheners around the home, kitchens, in offices, schools and public places and very few people object to the smell.

Just add a few drops of your favourite Young Living essential oils or blends to a cold air diffuser. Or why not try this simple blend to make your home a haven of healthy relaxation:

3 drops Young Living lavender essential oil
2 drops Young Living lemon essential oil
2 drops Young Living bergamot essential oil
1 drop Young Living tangerine essential oil
1 drop Young Living grapefruit essential oil

Diffuser recipes

Diffuse neat, or mix with distilled water in a spray bottle; shake well before spraying.

Start using all natural essential oils

You can get started using essential by purchasing your own diffuser and a premium starter kit. These kits make it easy as they contain 12 of our most popular essential oils. That’s like a whole year worth of smells for every room in your home. Plus as our special gift to you we will send you a copy of our Diffuser Recipes ebook. This 23 page book is packed full of different aromas you can choose to diffuse in your home. Create more peace, tranquility, harmony and even feel more energised. No matter how you want your home to feel we have the recipe to suit.

Not sure which diffuser to choose? Check out our Hot Topic – Diffusers which one to choose

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