I am a fool for marketing. I bought into the implied promise of a clean, fresh smelling and healthy home in a little sleek device that smelled like vanilla and magnolias. I used to buy air fresheners and put one right beside the kitty litter box and the hockey equipment in the basement. The problem is that all it really did was make the room smell like kitty litter, hockey change room and flowery vanilla beans. What an odd and nasty combination!
In 2007 the Natural Resources Defence Council investigated 14 popular brand name air fresheners and found phthalates in 12 of those products. Some of the air fresheners advertise as “All-Natural” or “Unscented. There are health concerns with phthalates, which link to fertility, hormone disruption and developmental problems in rats. Manufacturers use them in shower curtains, nail polishes, children’s toys, cleaners and perfumes as well as many other household items. Phthalates increase a products durability, flexibility and longevity.
In Sept 2008 the CBC conducted their own tests on air fresheners and found that 1/3rd tested positive for one or two types of phthalates. Currently, air fresheners in Canada do not need to list ingredients on their labels. Why is that Health Canada? Sears, Wal-mart and Toys R Us no longer carry toys containing phthalates. These are chemicals we all need to avoid.
If you use air fresheners or know someone that does, let them know about the potential hidden dangers. After discussing this issue with my Mom she offered this blunt but good advice. “If your house smells Laura, clean it.” She is right. There is no need for air fresheners that can be harmful to our health and home. Let’s open up a window instead!