What else could possibly matter? If you’re buying a “lavender scented” oil to perfume your home, you don’t really need to know much about it. The steps it took to get from plant to spray bottle just aren’t that important, right?
That’s partly right. Unfortunately the part that’s wrong could make you very sick. The fact is that lavender scented aerosol, or plug-in, or candle probably never had anything to do with a plant. Not one grown in the wild or carefully nurtured to produce a “natural scent.” No, it was most likely built in a lab from a stew of synthetic ingredients, artificial colorings and dangerous chemicals including known carcinogens.
Worldwide Studies Reveal Deadly Toxin Use
According to Wikipedia, a report issued in 2005 by the Bureau Européen des Unions de Consommateurs (BEUC) found that many air freshener products emit allergens and toxic air pollutants including benzene, formaldehyde, terpenes, styrene, phthalate esters, and toluene. Regular exposure to phthalates can increase your risk of experiencing endocrine, reproductive, and developmental problems.
Wikipedia also reports that a Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) study of 13 common household air fresheners found that most of the surveyed products contain chemicals that can aggravate asthma and affect reproductive development. The NRDC called for more rigorous supervision of the manufacturers and their products, which are widely assumed to be safe:
“The study assessed scented sprays, gels, and plug-in air fresheners. Independent lab testing confirmed the presence of phthalates, or hormone-disrupting chemicals that may pose a particular health risk to babies and young children, in 12 of the 14 products—including those marked ‘all natural.’ None of the products had these chemicals listed on their labels.”
Other worldwide studies over the last 25 years have all shown similar results. What’s perhaps the most disturbing fact about all of them however, is the fact that none of these dangerous chemicals are even disclosed on the product label. Known carcinogens that have been deemed unsafe in ANY concentration are widley distributed in a form that is very easily absorbed into the human body and a mention on a product label is not even required.
Some air freshener product labels do carry very specific warnings in their fine print. These warnings include:
- “Deliberately…inhaling the vapor of the contents may be harmful or fatal”
- “Avoid inhaling spray mist or vapor”
Huh? Avoid inhaling?
Health Consequences of Air Freshener Use
In the studies cited above and others a variety of health consequences were found. Direct correlations between air freshener use and the following diseases and complaints were made. Unfortunately, many of these were found more readily in infants, children and pets due to their smaller body sizes. They were also more profoundly effected by the chemicals as well. Here are just some of the chemicals found in air fresheners and the consequences of inhaling them as infrequently as once a week. Both sides are presented in alphabetical order and represent only some of the chemicals and consequences.
|Chemicals Found||Health Consequences|
|Formaldehyde||Diarrhea – especially in infants|
|Liquified petroleum||Ear aches – especially in children|
Natural Odor Eaters and Illness Prevention
Two ways you can get rid of offensive odors that do not involve putting your family in harms way include opening a window or door or using baking soda. Sprinkling a bit of baking soda on your carpet prior to vacuuming or leaving a box of baking soda open on the counter can absorb unpleasant odors without leaving a scent of its own.
If they are 100% pure and if they have been properly distilled to become top therapeutic grade, some essential oils can do more than help your home smell good. Thieves Essential Oil Blend is one that would be an excellent choice for use during the winter cold and flu season.
Testing has shown that Thieves is incredibly effective at killing airborne bacteria. In those studies, Thieves killed up to 99.8% of airborne bacteria after less than 20 minutes of being diffused.
When you don’t have a regular room diffuser or travel diffuser available, you can still enjoy the protection of Thieves. Three to five drops of the oil on a cotton ball put in a room vent will help diffuse the oil and purify the air.