Air-fresheners: Good smelling, bad for the body?

The moment an odor enters your nostrils as you enter your home, the first thing you want to do is make it go away, right? There are a few ways to do this. One, you can open a window and let the fresh air slowly take away the odors, or you can make it go away faster by popping open an air freshener and spraying it.

Air fresheners are handy tools. The moment it is sprayed, it brings a wave a freshness to one's nostrils battling away bad smells. They can make a room smell like a fresh meadow, a pool of vanilla, or a basket of freshly picked flowers. Something that smells so good can't possibly be bad, right? Wrong! Air fresheners contain chemicals that are harmful to our own well being. 

According to our own Daily Collegian and the Times, air fresheners may not be the smell saviors we think they are. These handy dandy tolls contain phthalates, which are hormone altering chemicals. If you breathe in a substantial amount of this chemical, damages can be done to your liver, testes, and ability to have children. The Natural Resources Defense council conducted a study in which they tested 14 air freshener brands that sat on the shelves of Walgreens, such as Glad and Febreze. This study concluded that 12 of these air fresheners contained an ample amount of chemical phthalates. Only two of the 14 tested were fully phthalate-free, including Febreze Air Effects and Renuzit Subtle Effects. The highest phthalates level of air fresheners being the Walgreens brand itself. If this isn't scary enough, most of these air fresheners that were tested to contain phthalates were marked as "unscented" or "all-natural". 

Another study conducted by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences discovered that air fresheners contain another chemical called 1,4 dichlorobenzene (1,4 DCB) which is a volatile organic compound, which are compounds that cause air pollution, such as petroleum distrilllates, limonene, and formalehyde. These are considered to be carcinogens, which can cause cancer. Extended exposure to these chemicals can damage one's lungs, and is especially dangerous to people who have asthma. Even levels that are below the safety recommendations can cause asthma among kids. 

These studies are important because they raise an increasing problem, which is indoor air pollution. America's allergy problems are getting worse, and we're bringing these problems onto ourselves. People enjoy living in artificially sweet smelling homes, ignoring the potential health risks that come with it. 

If you've read this and are saddened by the negative effects of air-fresheners, don't worry! There are alternatives that won't cause cancer or breathing problems Organic candles, organic incense, and organic air fresheners in a can, are all healthier alternatives.

After reading this post, would you continue to use air fresheners despite their health risks?

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