I'm definitely guilty of making my home smell of milk chocolate for our dinner guests, jasmine for our over night guests and even vanilla Glade Plug-ins next to my cat Houdini's litter box. But what am I really giving my guest and beloved animals in return for a wonderfully smelling home?
I was curious about ingredients on my air freshener. Glade Plug-Ins says "Amorphous Fumed Silica, Fragrance." Regulatory information:"All ingredients in this product are listed or excluded on the U.S. Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) Chemical Substance Inventory."
Interesting... This scares me "All ingredients in this product are listed or EXCLUDED on the U.S. Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) Chemical Substance Inventory."
What could they possibly be excluding? And what is in the "Fragrance" to make it a fragrance?
Are you not concerned about what you are breathing in everyday?
When looking into Fragrances, I found that a civil and environmental engineering professor Steinemann, at the University of Washington did some tests on some plug-in air fresheners! And guess what? Of course... Steinemann found VERY HIGH levels of volatile organic compounds. Article Which is called VOC. I've never heard of VOC's before. So I goggled it. The first thing that pops up was our friends the "U.S. Environmental Protection Agency". Article
Don't forget to click the link that says Health Effects, which include: Eye, nose, and throat irritation; headaches, loss of coordination, nausea; damage to liver, kidney, and ventral nervous system. Some organics can cause cancer in animals; some are suspected or known to cause cancer in humans. Key signs or symptoms associated with exposure to VOC's include conjunctival irritation, nose and throat discomfort, headache, allergic skin reaction, dyspnea, declines in serum cholinesterase levels, nausea, emesis, epistaxis, fatigue dizziness.
This isn't made up folks. It states it right on the website.
Please don't think this is just about Plug-in's, here's the other products people use daily in their homes:
- Air fresheners
- Antibacterial cleaners
- Carpet and upholstery shampoo
- Dishwasher detergents
- Furniture polish
- Laundry room products
- Oven cleaner
- Toilet bowl cleaners
According to the National Research Council, "no toxic information is available for more than 80% of the chemicals in everyday-use products. Less than 20% have been tested for acute effects and less than 10% have been tested for chronic, reproductive or mutagenic effects."
VOC's aren't the only chemical that's dangerous in your air fresheners. Check out the chemical called phthalates (pronounced thal-ates) Article Studies shows that it changes hormone levels and causes birth defects and significant adverse effects on physical growth and pubertal maturity. Also there may be a link between obesity and endocrine disruption as well as metabolic interference.
Wow! Maybe this is the cause of Houdini's health problems? And what about your child? Your baby is breathing in this toxic chemical if you use any type of air fresheners. Yes, candles included! Article
Be advised that the FDA doesn't have any regulations on the use of phthalates. They do not require the labeling on the products because they don't consider the quantity to which people are exposed to be harmful. Despite what the studies show with the cancer causing, infant abnormalities or fertility affects it has on people.
But what the hell, it smells great doesn't?!
Well, the real purpose of air fresheners is actually to deaden the nerve that interferes with our sense of smell. It coats our nasal passage with a oily film and masks the "not wanted odor" with a "more desirable odor" or deactivates the masked scent.
If you are now like me and will never burn another candle or plug-ins anything! Try another alternative:
- Put any of this on a pan with water: Cinnamon, orange, citrus peels, vanilla extract or any other spices on the stove.
- Dry herbs and flowers and place in a bowl in different rooms
- Baking soda will absorb odors in enclosed spaces. Get a open container and place in enclosed area.
- Open a window and get some clean air. Place a fan at your window or at a open door to blow some fresh air in the house.
- Zeolite is a mineral that absorbs odors and heavy metals.
- 2 cups of hot water, dissolve 1/8 of baking soda, then add 1/2 cup lemon juice.
- Boil whole Cinnamon sticks, whole cloves and a dash of nutmeg on the stove.
- Home made potpourri Article
Don't think if you get unscented or fragrance-free it doesn't mean there isn't any "fragrance" in the product. Steinemann said "an unscented of fragrance-free product may be a fragranced product, with the addition of masking fragrance."
The same chemicals were found in products labeled organic, natural, green or all-natural.
Instead of taking the quick fix and purchasing the cancer, headaches, nose and throat problems, take the extra step and make your own aroma. Not only will this save you money, it will insure that you find a fragrance that works for you.