Air Fresheners – the bad & the ugly


The bad and the ugly

Air fresheners (air poisoners) come in all shapes and sizes. These indoor chemical products include sprays, plug-ins, sticks, wicks, mists, aerosols, carpet “cleaners,” scented candles, scented drawer liners, the sprays that mask fabric smells, sprays for smelly pet bed, highly scented loo paper, scented plastic bin liners, even scented stones – the list is endless for homes, cars, shops and offices. There seems to be no escape, these chemical fragrances seem to be everywhere. During the winter months, the concentrations of these chemicals will be even worse as many people won’t be opening their windows much to allow in “real” fresh air for fear of letting out too much heat.

Seduced by heavy and clever advertising to ensure that as many rooms as possible have these “fresheners” circulating various chemical scents throughout the home, even when you leave home you can subject yourself in the car and continue to inhale them at work. Due to loopholes regarding the chemical perfume industry, companies pushing these products aren’t even required to list the ingredients of anything labelled as “fragrance”. Scary! There are some called metered air fresheners, where a canister is fitted into a gadget that automatically and periodically releases a spray into the room.

There are reports showing that it is becoming evident that these nasty chemical cocktails are causing health problems from headaches to asthma. Many of the chemicals in the various products are highly toxic. The word “fragrance” is a term for numerous ingredients ……. that enables the manufacturer privileges, they don’t need to disclose what makes up the fragrance. So you have no idea what you are subjecting yourself or your family too.

In the UK – Air Wick leads the air care market, Ambi Pur has been boosted by a new range of plug-ins and Febreze increases lead in aerosols, plus products from Glade and Oust. However, these are just a handful of companies making such things.

The Good

Natural Air Fresheners are easy to make and once they fill your house with aromas that actually have a positive effect on the health of the whole family. They can do the same job as the nasty chemical air fresheners – fill your house, car or office with aromas that will mask not so pleasant smells from pets, cooking etc. Aromatherapy and essential oils will eliminate the need for chemicals that have been shown to make conditions like asthma worse. Whereas essential oils can help improve various conditions.


ARITICLE from the BBC  Read Below or click on link

Aerosols ‘harm mother and baby’
Aerosol sprays can give off VOCs
Air fresheners and aerosols can damage the health of babies and their mothers, UK research suggests.

Frequent use during pregnancy and early childhood was linked with diarrhoea and earache in infants and headaches and depression in mothers.

The culprits are volatile organic compounds released by such products, say the Bristol University scientists.

It might be safer to limit use in the home, they told Archives of Environmental Health.

Harmful effects

Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are irritants, and indoor sources include solvents, floor adhesives, paint, furnishings and cleaning products.

The researchers followed the health and development of 14,000 children since before birth.

When they looked at levels of VOCs in the homes of 170 of the children and interviewed 10,000 of the mothers about their use of air fresheners and aerosols, the scientists found some concerning trends.

Being cleaner may not necessarily mean being healthier
Dr Alexandra Farrow, lead researcher
In homes where air fresheners – including sticks, sprays and aerosols – were used every day rather than once a week, 32% more babies had diarrhoea.

The babies were also more likely to experience earache.

Daily use of aerosols such as polish, deodorant and hairspray was associated with a 30% increase in infant cases of diarrhoea, and also affected mothers’ health.

These mothers who used air fresheners and aerosols daily had nearly 10% more headaches and were about 26% more likely to experience depression.

Lead researcher Dr Alexandra Farrow, now working at Brunel University, said: “People may think that using these products makes their homes cleaner and healthier, but being cleaner may not necessarily mean being healthier.

“Air fresheners combined with other aerosol and household products contribute to a complex mixture of chemicals and a build-up of VOCs in the home environment.”

Mounting evidence

She said pregnant women and babies up to six months might be particularly susceptible to the effects of this, because they spend around 80% of their time at home.

“There may also be implications for other groups who are at home a good deal, such as the elderly.

“More research is needed, but in the meantime, it might be safer to limit use of air fresheners and aerosols in the home. Squeezing a lemon is just as effective at freshening the air.”

Professor Roy Harrison, professor of environmental health at Birmingham University, said: “There is a body of research on VOCs in the indoor environment which links them with those kinds of symptoms – headaches and not feeling so good.”

But he said: “The mechanism is not very well understood.”

Most of the products could be regarded as non-essential and, therefore, might be avoided, he added.

Dr Chris Flower, of the Cosmetics, Toiletries and Perfumery Association, said: “Cosmetic products such as hairsprays and deodorants are required by legislation to be safe in normal use.

“Aerosol forms of these products are labelled with advice that they should not be used in confined spaces and current evidence shows these products are safe.

“We shall be looking into the new research by Bristol University to see whether people are following advice and whether additional advice may be required.”

The British Aerosol Manufacturers’ Association and the UK Cleaning Products Industry Association said: “While we encourage on-going industry research, we believe that Alex Farrow’s claims were not justified.

“It is quite feasible that those suffering from depression use more air fresheners in an attempt to cheer up their surroundings and that those parents whose children are vomiting or have diarrhoea have simply used air fresheners to mask the smell.”

The research was funded by government bodies and charitable research organisations, including the Medical Research Council and the Wellcome Trust, as well as commercial sponsors and US research institutes.

Please follow and like us:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *