Walk into any market, pharmacy, or general store and you’ll see them abounding. They line the aisles just waiting to be taken into unsuspecting homes to clean the air and make it smell nice and fresh. The selection of vibrant rainbow colors, shapes, and shiny packages abound. You may even feel tempted to buy 100 of them to spread throughout your home and office. The affordable prices makes them seem very appealing. You look at the package and read all the wonderful ingredients. Commercials depict homeowners who use air fresheners as happy, healthy, and content while breathing fresh clean air. These products were made to put your mind at ease and provide you with the means to clean the air and prevent you from worrying about odors and germs. You would never dream that these products could be harmful or hazardous to your health.
The companies that manufacture these products have families across the United States and abroad believing that these products are beneficial and safe. What these companies won’t tell you is that these products contribute to severe respiratory illnesses and allergies. When you look at a deodorizer package, you may feel relaxed and comforted by the vibrant colors and shapes and you’ll see in the ingredients that there are natural scents like jasmine and chamomile. What you won’t see in the ingredients are the plethora of toxic petro-chemicals added to these natural ingredients that irritate the lungs, the nasal passages, and your organs. A recent study of mothers and their infants, conducted at Bristol University in England, found that air-freshener sprays were associated with headaches and depression in the mothers and ear infections and diarrhea in the babies.
We’ve known for a long time that certain deodorizers contains a substance called Phenol, the ingestion of which even in small amounts can cause nausea, vomiting, circulatory collapse, paralysis, convulsions, coma, respiratory failure, and cardiac arrest. Why would anyone with children keep such a product in their home? We have also learned recently that a well-known deodorizer disinfectant also contains Dioxin! That’s the deadly ingredient used in Agent Orange that can cause genetic mutation, birth defects and cancer. A recent article in Greenpeace Magazine discussed Dioxin in length. The article explained that Dioxin causes cancer, birth defects and reproductive problems. It also causes developmental and nervous and immune system abnormalities and damage to the kidneys, liver and skin.
It doesn’t matter whether you spray it or just plug it in to an outlet and let the fragrance permeate the air. Air fresheners are touted as healthy safe ways of cleaning and freshening the air, but the truth is the contrary. You don’t have enough fingers to count the deodorizers available on the market. They all do the same thing and they are all toxic and unsafe. It won’t indicate this because the companies aren’t required by the U.S. FDA to disclose this information. The chemicals are not biodegradable, which means that any residue that is emitted into the air and water supply will not break down. In addition to the personal exposure in their own homes, people can also get exposure in commercial venues, such as the public restroom in a supermarket or a restaurant. The chemicals leave a toxic residue that threatens wildlife and contributes to pollution. In order to prevent debilitating illnesses, it is best to avoid these toxic products altogether.
A healthy safe alternative to clean your air and make it smell fresh is pure organic plant essential oils. Organic essential oils of lemon, lavender, patchouli, sandalwood, pine, and wintergreen are wonderful for cleaning and purifying the air and eliminating toxic and offensive odors. You cannot go wrong with natural essential oils. They are non-toxic and 100% effective. My husband and I use them in our home and on our persons every time we step out the door. Essential oils smell nice and have many healing medicinal properties. Lemon is great for cleaning the air and making it smell good, but it’s also great for many other things. A couple drops of lemon oil in your water will enhance the flavor and destroy harmful bacteria. You can also mix it with white distilled vinegar and baking soda for cleaning and deodorizing. Peppermint is another wonderful magical healing herb.
Peppermint has been used for centuries for many healing properties. It aids digestion, cleans the breath, soothes sore throats, and helps you to stay cool on a hot day. Peppermint is so strong that a half of a drop will do wonders. Sandalwood is another wonderful magical plant. It smells great and is very calming and relaxing. It can be used to lift the spirits and it does wonders to create a sweet positive atmosphere.
There really is no limit to the wonderful healing power of essential oils. Some are good for internal as well as external use, but many are only for external use. The most important thing to keep in mind is that commercial mainstream products are best avoided. There are many products that claim to contain natural plant scent oils, but this is confusing and not altogether true. The plant oils are not pure. They are a combination of plant essences and petro-chemicals. When you see ingredients like chamomile and jasmine, don’t be fooled. Once inhaled, these ingredients irritate the lungs and can cause health problems. The best thing environmentally conscious consumers can do is to shop at natural organic health food stores. You will find many non-toxic earth-friendly products that heal and take care of all your cleaning and everyday needs in these stores. You can also make your own homemade mixtures with baking soda, vinegar, hydrogen peroxide, and essential oils. It’s a myth that toxic chemicals are needed for cleanliness and fresh clean air. People throughout the world use non-toxic earth-friendly products and they’re healthy, happy, and clean. Consider this the next time you’re tempted to purchase one of these toxic air fresheners. Your health will thank you for it.
1. BBC NEWS
Health Aerosols Linked With Baby Illness
September 1, 1999
2. UC Berkeley
Office of Environment, Health, and Safety
June 4, 2003
3. Greenpeace International
Dioxin – Closer Than You Think!
December 20, 2004
4. Greenpeace International
An Investigation of Chemicals