What do you breathe after you spray air freshener?


Air fresheners are used in homes daily. But have you ever wondered what poisonous fumes your family breathes once you spray it? True, it takes care of odors instantly, leaving a fresh smell that pleases your senses.

One of the largest Air Fresheners that advertises hugely is Febreze, created by Procter & Gamble. It traps odor molecules in its spray. But you have to understand that the product does not remove odor molecules, it just masks them. Second, it does not clean dirt and grime that cause the odors. The bacteria that causes the odor still remains. Your nose believes that everything smells clean, just because the chemical scent is stronger than the odor.

You know as well as anyone does that inhalation of chemicals is dangerous. Several ingredients can irritate the lungs and affect the nervous system. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) conducted a test for harmful ingredients to humans, for one of their products, Febreze Air Effects.

Febreze’s manufacturer, P&G discloses only 3 ingredients in this product, but EWG found 87 chemicals in total in one bottle of spray. This and other products that Febreze has are all carriers of these chemicals. Other air fresheners on the market have similar chemicals. “Febreze Air Effects released 89 air contaminants, the third highest number released by any product tested. One of these chemicals is linked to cancer, another to neurotoxicity.” (EWG)

Here are the directions, that seem noticeably, generous, printed on the Febreze can. “Hold can upright, pull trigger back and spray the air in a sweeping motion throughout the entire room. For a noticeably fresh home, spray all the rooms in your home.”  

What about the toxins you are spraying from the can? Does anyone care? Or are we all that oblivious to toxins in the air inside our homes, that we ask, what’s the difference in adding 89 more toxins inside our homes where our children live?

BHT – a neurotoxin, also disrupts endocrine, immunotoxicity, non-reproductive organ system toxicity, skin, eye and lung irritant.

Acetaldehyde – a chemical that is known to cause cancer, toxic to reproduction and body development, non-reproductive organ system toxicity, skin, eye and lung irritant.

Fragrance – one of the 3 ingredients disclosed is a neurotoxin, immunotoxin, and allergen to those with sensitive respiratory problems.

Propylene Glycol – causes cancer, allergies, toxic to the immune system, accumulates in the system, non-reproductive organ system toxicity, has shown to be highly absorbed by the skin, irritates the eyes and lungs.

1,3- Dichloro-2-propanol – Carcinogenic (causes cancer) Limonene -Allergen, immunotoxin, skin irritant, irritates the eyes and lungs.

Methyl pyrrolidone – Toxin that affects reproductive organs and development in youth, allergen and immunotoxin, non-reproductive organ system toxicity, skin, eye and lung irritant.

Alcohol denatured – Also disclosed by Febreze, this is linked to cancer, development /reproductive organ toxicity, organ system toxicity, skin, eyes and lung irritant.

Butylphenyl Methyl propionyl – can you even say that out loud without twisting your tongue? – This is an allergen that affects asthma patients, and people with sensitive lungs. It is an immunotoxin, skin, eyes and lung irritant.

Ethyl Acetate – linked to developmental/reproductive toxicity, neurotoxicity, organ system toxicity, skin, eyes, and lung irritant.

Geraniol – a chemical linked to allergies, immunotoxicity, organ system toxicity and skin eyes and lung irritant.

Linalool – allergen, immunotoxin, skin, eyes and lung irritant.

Benzaldehyde – neurotoxin, skin, eyes and lung irritant.

Diethylene glycol monoethyl ether – non-reproductive organ system toxicity.

Ethylphenol – developmental and reproductive toxin in younger kids, skin,  eyes and lung irritant.

Hexyl Cinnamal – allergen, immunotoxin, skin, eyes and lung irritant.

These chemicals are only a partial list of the ingredients tested by EWG. To get a read on the full list, click here.