Nobody likes to sit in a stinky room, but many big name environmental groups, including the Sierra Club, argue that air fresheners are big stinkers for many health and environmental reasons!
An alliance of environmental groups commissioned an independent lab to study the health and environmental safety of the chemicals used in scented sprays, gels and plug-in air fresheners. The outcome moved them to file a petition with the EPA and moved the drug store Walgreens to quickly pull Walgreens branded air fresheners from their shelves. There are no health benefits to these air fresheners, but they have been linked with breathing difficulties, developmental problems in babies and cancer in lab animals. The environmental groups also argue that the air fresheners often mask smells associated with mold and mildew, which can pose serious threats to respiratory health.
The main problem is many air fresheners, even those with the word "natural" on their label, contain harmful chemicals including benzene, formaldehyde and phthalates - which can disrupt testosterone production causing genital malformation in boys.
To see which products, according to the Natural Resources Defense Council contain the most phthalates
Highest levels of phthalates:
Walgreens Air Freshener Spray (removed from shelves)
Walgreens Scented Bouquet Air Fresheners (removed from shelves)
Walgreens Solid Air Fresheners (removed from shelves)
Ozium Glycolized Air Sanitizer
Medium levels of phthalates:
Air Wick Scented Oil
Febreze NOTICEables Scented Oil
Glade Air Infusions
Glade PlugIn Scented Oil
Oust Air Sanitizer Spray
Low levels or no phthalates detected:
Febreze Air Effects Air Refresher
Lysol Brand II Disinfectant
Oust Fan Liquid Refills
Renuzit Subtle Effects
One can only hope that the industry will be regulated soon and then we will all be able to breathe a little easier.