Stop Buying Air Fresheners!

Posted on October 1, 2007 by Allie


It’s easy to assume that if a product is on the shelf, it’s been tested for safety and passed the test. Unfortunately, that’s not always a safe assumption.

In a recent study of air fresheners, NRDC scientists found pthalates, chemicals that can exacerbate respiratory issues and disrupt normal reproductive function, in 12 out of the 14 products tested.

NRDC tested 14 different brands of common household air fresheners and found that 12 contained the hormone-disrupting chemicals known as phthalates. Only two, Febreze Air Effects and Renuzit Subtle Effects, contained no detectable levels of phthalates. The products that tested positive included ones marketed as “all-natural” and “unscented.” None had phthalates in the list of ingredients or anywhere else on the label. The three with the highest level of phthalates were Walgreens Air Freshener, Walgreens Scented Bouquet, and Ozium Glycolized Air Sanitizer.

While consumers should be concerned about the chemicals, NRDC stressed that there is no cause for panic. The chemicals pose their greatest risk over long term repeated exposure.

Unfortunately, most air fresheners are used repeatedly, over a long period of time.

If your house is smelling stale or even downright stinky, the safest fix is to open a window and let some fresh air in. Hang pillows, rugs, and linens outside periodically. Other solutions include the stainless steel Smell Killer, baking soda or activated charcoal, cotton balls soaked in essential oils, or even mulling some cinnamon sticks on the stove top (add a few pieces of crystallized ginger and you’ll have a yummy hot drink too).

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No Comments +

  1. wow! that’s really gross to think about. i feel bad for people that can’t open their windows year round. with pets it’s really hard to avoid some type of air freshener. essential oils are a great idea!

    October 2nd, 2007 at 3:57 pm
    Comment by nicole
  2. [...] usually steer clear of air fresheners, and method’s vague ingredient lists have always made me curious as to their position on [...]

    January 16th, 2008 at 7:30 pm
    Pingback by Allie’s Answers » Blog Archive » method Gingerbread Spice Aroma Spray
  3. [...] I use baking soda to clean in place of a more abrasive, bleach-based cleaner.  I use it to deodorize, instead of reaching for an aerosol, phthalate-ridden spray that can disrupt reproductive function and cause respiratory problems. [...]

    February 2nd, 2009 at 4:31 pm
    Pingback by Baking Soda Week

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Tip of the Day

If It Doesn’t Smell, Don’t Wash It


According to Real Simple, if every American made an effort to launder less — cutting out just one load of laundry a week per household — we’d save enough water to fill seven million swimming pools each year.

So if it looks clean, and it smells clean, call it clean and wear it again. Consider hanging worn clothes out on your clothesline to freshen them up between wearings.

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