Protect Your Children From Toxic Air Fresheners

by Dagmar Bleasdale on April 10, 2011

toxic air freshenersToxic Air Fresheners

Did you know that most air fresheners are toxic?

The advertising of air fresheners and plug-ins makes it sound like everyone should have a house that smells like an “ocean breeze.” Or that you are only a good mom if you spray air fresheners all over your house.

Why are so many people buying into that? We are much smarter than that!

Air fresheners don’t “freshen” the air. They just mask odors, with synthetic fragrance or by interfering with your ability to smell. They coat your nasal passages with an oil film or releasing a nerve-deadening agent. In rare cases, they will break down the odors.

Known toxic chemicals can be found in air fresheners like phenol, ethanol, formaldehyde, and artificial fragrances, which can cause symptoms like headaches, rashes, dizziness, asthma attacks, mental confusion, coughing and more.

Some of the substances in toxic air fresheners are linked to cancer or hormone disruption.

A study published on July 10, 2010, in Environmental Health found that women who used more household cleaning products, including air fresheners and mold removers, had a 2x higher risk of breast cancer.

Many aerosol air fresheners contain toxic phthalates, which have been linked to birth defects and reproductive harm.

This is my kind of air freshener:

I’m a huge advocate of green living, recycling, natural cleaning and non-toxic skincare products, and share a lot of information I wish every parent would know on my Healthy Living and Green Living page.

I’m honored to be part of the Healthy Child, Healthy World blogger network, a nonprofit that educates parents to protect children from harmful chemicals.

With a growing body of evidence linking everyday environmental contaminants to asthma, learning disabilities, obesity, cancer and more, Healthy Child translates the science and empowers parents and caregivers to create healthy environments.

Sadly, it looks like a lot more education is necessary.

I’m always astounded by the reaction I get when I mention the danger of commercial “air fresheners”, many candles, and plug-in units. Many people say they had no idea air fresheners are toxic.

It’s so important to stay away from them, especially when you have growing children, yet according to the Wall Street Journal, the global sales of air fresheners are on the rise: “Though a seemingly optional purchase for cash-strapped consumers, Febreze sold well in the U.S., Europe and Japan during the global economic slowdown, helping it become the 24th Procter & Gamble Co. brand to reach $1 billion in annual sales.”

It’s sad to see how many people buy into the false claims of air fresheners, waste their money, and don’t realize the danger of them.

Air “fresheners” do not freshen air, they make the air in your home unhealthy. Your family’s health and our environment (and your pocketbook!) are much better of if you don’t buy commercial air fresheners.

Freshen indoor air naturally with indoor plants and by opening the windows to let in fresh air — it’s that simple.

{photo credit}

{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

Tracie September 18, 2012 at 12:07 PM

Air fresheners always give me a horrible headache, but my husband refuses to believe that it is possible for “a smell to make your head hurt” so he continues to buy new scents to try. I’m sending him this right now.


Dagmar September 18, 2012 at 2:58 PM

Oh my goodness, Tracie, air fresheners are seriously toxic and can cause all kinds of health issues. Tell him to stop wasting his money! I hope my post and the links will finally convince him. Aren’t your headaches enough to stop buying them? He is basically buying into bogus ads for air fresheners. It’s a huge industry, and they’ll tell you anything to make a profit. They don’t care about your health.


Debsgreatfinds April 14, 2011 at 12:34 PM

wow had no ideal that air fresheners were so bad for are heath.


magpie April 13, 2011 at 4:08 PM

Gah. I’ve always hated them, but now I have a rational reason for my loathing.


Serendipity is Sweet April 12, 2011 at 11:31 AM

Great post! Important info to share. I knew this but my husband doesn’t believe me. He wants everything to have a “fresh” smell. If he can’t smell it, it smells bad. He’ll go around lighting 4 or 5 scented candles and I’m literally gaging. As a culture we’ve totally bought into this and it’s crazy. We didn’t need all that junk 30 years ago.

I voted, shared on FB and twitter.
Keep up the great work ;)


Dagmar April 13, 2011 at 5:38 AM

I adore Mrs. Meyer’s geranium cleaner — it makes you literally happy to smell that smell. I bet your husband would like it.


Alicia @MommyDelicious April 12, 2011 at 2:28 AM

Whoa…. very eye-opening post. I used to use air fresheners, but I stopped buying them not b/c I knew all of this, but b/c I kept forgetting when I get to Target. LOL. Lucky for me… and my son! Opening the window has proven to be more effective than air fresheners though!


Ollie McKay's April 11, 2011 at 4:22 PM

Great post! AND I just got thru spraying some room freshener around – that’s it! no more for me! AND we are expecting our FIRST grandbaby any day ( a little girl named Soleil) so I’m passing all this info on to my son and daughter-in-law too! Thank You! Happy healthy beautiful Monday to all!


Kristi {at} Live and Love Out Loud April 11, 2011 at 4:06 PM

I had no idea that these air fresheners could be so toxic! Thanks so much for sharing this, Dagmar. And of course you can count on my vote! :)
I also Stumbled this post. Well done!


Dagmar April 12, 2011 at 3:10 AM

Thank you, Kristi, you are the best!


Verena April 11, 2011 at 7:02 AM

Very good post! Too many people are using these air fresheners. Luckily we never use air freshener!
I just voted for you! ;)


Dagmar April 11, 2011 at 12:47 PM

Danke for the vote, Verena!


Dagmar April 12, 2011 at 3:11 AM

Thanks for your vote, Verena :)


karen April 10, 2011 at 6:01 PM

I’ve never liked the smell of air fresheners. They smell so fake, and usually don’t improve the ambience or atmosphere in a room. I always have windows open, even just a small amount, in winter, to let fresh air in. I have an oil burner, I burn (as in add oils to water, with a small flame underdeath) which I add pure oils like rose, neroli, lavender, or jasmine. I also use frankincense or cinnamon at Christmas, to make a lovely smell, and I use it for eucalyptus when we have colds. But I generally prefer to open windows and let air in. Thankfully we live in an area with very few little car traffic or fumes.
My favorite “real” smells which are easy to fill a house with, are fresh coffee, any kind of baking smell, (especially chocolate based or fresh bread) the smell of fresh cut grass, when the fields next to our house are mowed, the smell of clean laundry being ironed, and fresh flowers. All easy ways to make a home smell nice, if you want to, and far less toxic than some yucky air “freshener”.


Carol April 10, 2011 at 5:26 PM

One of the best ways to freshen the air is open a window. Even in the middle of the Winter. Cracking a window open for a minute or two can clean out the stagnant indoor air. One of my favorite ways to freshen is with essential oils. I like to sprinkle an essential oil such as lavender or orange in a bowl on top of baking soda. Mix it up with a fork. Sprinkle it around on my carpets and vacuum it up. It freshens the air and my carpets.


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