Do you like to throw open the door to your home and have it smell like you are stepping into a field of roses or walking through a pine forest? There’s a serious fascination with air fresheners and scented sprays in this country. U.S. consumers are expected to spend over $1.5 BILLION dollars on air fresheners this year. Yes, that’s correct…..BILLION! But those products that you buy to freshen the air in your home could also be creating some serious health problems for you and your family.
Women who use air fresheners in the home are 25% more likely to have headaches, according to a New Scientist study. That study makes sense, because almost all air fresheners contain synthetic ingredients. Synthetic ingredients is just a nice way of saying chemicals. Now, some air fresheners could contain essential oils, which are condensed versions of the actual fragrance from lemons or roses or whatever smell you’re searching for. But, if essential oils are just a fraction of what is in the ingredients, what do you think the rest of the ingredients are?
Essentially, when you spray most air fresheners, you are spraying a mix of chemicals, alcohols and all sorts of unnatural products into the air that you breathe. These products stay in the air – that’s why you get the continuous smell – so you are constantly breathing in and inhaling artificial ingredients which, most likely, haven’t been adequately tested for long term human safety (Approximately 10% of all chemicals created for commercial use have been adequately tested for human safety).
A majority of air fresheners also contain phthalates, which are chemicals used to “carry” a fragrance in air fresheners and perfumes. Phthalates are known for causing problems with asthma and allergies, as well as a whole host of other medical problems. Most surprising, though, is that some phthalates have been shown to act as “hormone disruptors,” which can cause havoc with your estrogen, testosterone and thyroid hormones. Most importantly, the long term effects of phthalates in frequent smaller doses (the common ways that we interact with them) is unknown at this time.
So, what’s a person to do if you don’t want to give up the smell of your lavender fields but you want to protect your health? Don’t worry, there’s plenty of healthier, safer options out there.
Why not try Mrs. Meyers Clean Day products? These aromatherapeutic household cleansers will leave your whole house smelling like a geranium, baby blossom or other naturally-derived fragrances that the product line comes in. Trust me, these scents will linger for a very long time, so you don’t have to worry about losing the air freshening effect. Even better, the fragrance is in the cleaning product so it’s one less thing to buy and one less product to have to store. And Mrs. Meyers cleaning products are more natural than conventional cleaning products, anyway, so it’s a win-win situation.
Or you can try a natural air freshener product, many of which can be bought at Whole Foods or natural food stores. What you’re looking for is anything made primarily with essential oils.
In fact, you could just purchase a bottle of essential oil (available in a variety of scents), put a few drops in a spray bottle of water, and start spraying. Try Mountain Rose Herbs for some great, organic scents. If you’re spraying on fabrics, though, be sure to spot test a small section first since these are pure oils.
Or scent the air with fragrant plants, such as jasmine, or a simmering pot of cinnamon and orange peel. There’s plenty of choices out there. Just be sure the one you choose isn’t compromising your health for the sake of artificially fragranced flower fields.
Get Green: All natural air fresheners made with essential oils are created from naturally renewable resources, such as flowers, fruits, and trees. Chemical-based scents are not naturally renewable and are created in a lab somewhere.
Be Well: All natural air fresheners don’t pollute the indoor air with chemicals, alcohols, phthalates and other questionable ingredients for you to inhale and your body to process.