If I were to lock you in a room, shut the windows and door, and then proceed to shower the area with a concoction of formaldehyde, and say another couple hundred or so chemicals (I wouldn’t know exactly what they are because there is no ingredients listed on the can), would you thank me? Probably not. How about if when I sprayed this magic fog, it got rid of a disgusting wet dog smell or yesterday’s fish stench? I would like to hope that you would still opt out of the toxic brew. But for a huge portion of the population, they choose to breathe in these poisons in the form of air fresheners over and over, day after day!
We spray, plug-in, heat up and even burn these deadly cocktails to the tune of over 8 billion dollars’ worth each year! We seem to be obsessed with Island Breeze, Clean Linen and Berry Burst. The commercials show us spraying enough of this stuff to ‘wash rooms’, entire families are euphoric as they plug in their car vent clips, and spray-happy women are dousing shoes, clothing and even pets. We melt them and light them and even have them change scents as if they were a music player on shuffle. And yet, most of us know very little about these addictive air fresheners.
The next time you go to purchase a can or a candle or plugin, I would like you to Consider This…
The top few ingredients in air fresheners are phthalates, formaldehyde, petroleum distillates, dichlorobenzene, DBP’s, DEP, and DIBP, collectively called VOC’s. Then add another couple hundred others – one study listed 350 chemicals in a sample. Unfortunately for us, it is impossible to know exactly what we are buying because for the most part companies do not list the ingredients on their products, nor do they have to. All of these toxic chemicals are apparently an industry secret and also, none of our business. Numerous studies do show that a large number of the chemicals used are linked to cancer, asthma, allergies, birth defects, changes in hormone levels, heart and lung problems, poor semen quality, and changes in genital development!
Many of the products out there simply mask odors; the scent of the spray is stronger than the actual stink you are trying to cover up-especially if you spray as much as the ads suggest! Others contain chemicals that trap the smelly smells and block them from escaping to our noses. Some coat our nasal passages with a film and others actually use nerve-deadening chemicals that interfere with our sense of smell-yikes!!
Now this is when I would like to suggest the all-natural route, the organic choice. Unfortunately even air fresheners advertised as green or natural, tested about the same for toxic and hazardous chemicals as did the other brands.
So, then what can we do?
Personally, I try to keep odors to a minimum to begin with; wash up and open windows. Even then, my seriously stinky dogs can override my best efforts. So for those times, I have several Mason jars around the house half filled with baking soda to which I add about a dozen or so drops of my fav essential oils (you can buy these anywhere – they are especially cheap at the bulk food stores). The fancy way to do this is to pierce the metal lids but I just put a piece of tin foil on top and poke holes in it. I also have a pot on my stove which is always filled with water and a combination of cinnamon sticks, whole cloves, rosemary, lemon peels or vanilla pieces.
You can also purchase air fresheners made of distilled water and essential oils in a pump bottle or diffusers made from basically the same ingredients. Eco Me offers a great product.
As it is with everything we buy, we are in control of the products made available to us. Knowledge is our power and ignorance is theirs