Air Fresheners: are they making you sick?
Do you gag or sneeze while walking through super markets or box stores, or candle shops, like I do? If you don't know why you're having such a negative reaction... it's because of the chemicals in those scented products - yuck! Personally, I think those products should be banned because they cause so many health problems and illnesses.
Some 75 percent of U.S. households use air fresheners, according to NRDC. The air freshener industry is now worth over $1.72 billion in the United States, a 50-percent increase over 2003.
It is estimated that 95% of chemicals used in fragrances are synthetic compounds derived from petroleum. It has also been estimated that more than 3000 different chemicals are used in fragrance production.
Even some essential oils are not entirely natural (the cheap aromatherapy oils sold in stores) as harsh chemicals are used in their extraction process. Chemical solvents such as hexane and heptane are used to extract the maximum amount of essential oil from the plant, so it is important to buy high quality oils from a source you trust - such as Young Living Essential Oils.
Why are air fresheners making us sick?
Air Fresheners: can coat your nasal passages with an oil film and/or reduce your ability to smell odors. These products often contain Formaldehyde - a highly toxic material that can irritate eyes, nose, throat, and skin. High exposure can cause nausea, headaches, nosebleeds, dizziness, memory loss and shortness of breath. Other chemicals include Phenol, a skin irritant that can cause swelling, burning, and peeling. High doses of Phenol can also cause cold sweats, convulsions, circulatory collapse, coma, and even death.
The main toxin in room fresheners, urinal cakes, moth balls, paints, household cleaning products, and vehicle exhaust fumes is 1,4 dichlorobenzene (1,4 DCB).
A recent National Institute of Environmental Health Services (NIEHS) study published in Environmental Health Perspectives showed that among 953 adults 1,4 DCB was linked to a reduction in lung function. Check your household products, read the labels to see if they contain 1,4 DCB.
Even air fresheners marketed as "all-natural" or "unscented" contain hazardous chemicals.
The air fresheners the NRDC tested included aerosol sprays, liquids that emit a continuous scent, and a solid. Of the 14 products tested by NRDC, there was wide variation in the level of phthalates contained. Three of the 14 products had very high levels-more than 100 parts per million (ppm) including products that ranged from 360 ppm to 7,307 ppm.
In addition to phthalates, many air fresheners contain allergens, volatile organic compounds (VOCs) as well as cancer-causing chemicals such as benzene and formaldehyde.
Phthalates are found in a wide array of consumer products, including cosmetics and fragrances, pharmaceuticals, vinyl children's toys, automobiles and paints. Phthalates are known to interfere with production of testosterone and have been associated with reproductive abnormalities.
Because there are no labeling requirements it is virtually impossible for consumers to know which products may pose a risk.
A study of 14 common household air fresheners has found that most contain chemicals that can aggravate asthma and affect reproductive development, according to the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). "There are too many products on the shelves that we assume are safe, but have never even been tested," said Dr. Gina Solomon, NRDC senior scientist. "The government should be keeping a watchful eye on these household items and the manufacturers who produce them."
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, according to the report. Pregnant women and children should avoid products that contain phthalates.
We can have nice scents around us and in our homes, provided they're not made from chemicals that slowly poison us. It is so easy to do with high quality Young Living essential oils. Even though they do have a scent, the scent does not contain any chemicals whatsoever... thank goodness!
I just love cleaning my house and diffusing my Young Living essential oils so much that simply thinking about those cheap and dangerous products makes me sick. And, don't get me started on those nasty dryer sheets, they are the worst - see my favorite tips to discover how easy and fun it is to be empowered.
Kill Germs and Freshen Indoor Air Naturally
On the physical level, essential oils help combat biological contaminants by binding to the airborne molecules of fat that typically carry unpleasant odors. Citrus essential oils make terrific air fresheners around the home, kitchens, in offices, schools and public places and very few people object to the smell. Synthetic air fresheners, on the other hand, only mask the undesirable odors and often cause people o not feel well and complain about the odor.
From Ask Dr. Weil: Air Fresheners - are they bad for my health?
Q: I use air fresheners in my home, but have been told I shouldn't. Are they bad for my health?
A: It certainly looks like they are. Recent research strongly suggests that they raise your risk of a number of pulmonary diseases. Last year researchers found that being exposed to chemicals from air fresheners as little as once a week may increase your odds of developing asthma symptoms by 71 percent. And a 2006 study showed that people with high blood levels of the chemical 1,4 dichlorobenzene commonly found in air fresheners - were more likely to experience a decline in lung function.
Other studies point to a cancer link. University of California, Berkeley, researchers determined that, when used in small, poorly ventilated rooms, some air fresheners emit pollutants that create high levels of formaldehyde, a carcinogen shown to cause cancer in animals and respiratory irritation in humans.
Last year, the Natural Resources Defense Council evaluated 14 air fresheners, 12 of which had varying amounts of phthalates, chemicals that may affect fertility, cause cancer, and trigger developmental abnormalities in infants. The NRDC and other environmental groups filed a petition calling for all air freshener-related products to be tested for consumer safety and regulated by the government.
I recommend freshening the air by opening windows and eliminating the sources of unpleasant odors. If you enjoy aromas indoors, opt for natural items such as a lavender plant, potted herbs, or a bouquet of fresh flowers.
Andrew Weil, M.D., is a pioneer in the field of holistic health and founder and director of the Program in Integrative Medicine at the College of Medicine, University of Arizona. He received his medical training at Harvard University.
It's hard to imagine that these things are not tested. It reminds me of when I heard Ralph Nader on my little Panasonic transister radio when I was about 11 years old. He was talking about chemicals on our food. I couldn't believe my ears! I had always thought that there were grown up's making sure nobody did things that would harm anyone or anything.
Listening to the radio that day and going to my local library to confirm that it was true changed my attitude and life forever. It was that one thing that started me on what would be my life long hobby... what's in our food and other things we buy and use daily.
It's 40 years later and still nothing has changed. Not only that but there's more of this junk out there there was before.
Essential Oil Tip: Freshen Air Naturally
Using Young Living's therapeutic grade essential oils in your home environment is a way to add oxygen and cut down on overgrowth of unwanted microbes such as fungus (mold and mildew), pathogenic viruses, and bacteria.
The best way to address unwanted things in your air is by using a cold-air nebulizer diffuser and therapeutic-grade Young Living essential oils undiluted.
A cold-air nebulizer diffuser puts a micro-fine mist of the essential oil into the air and allows the mist to permeate your room(s). Only cool air is used and recommended. Never use heat - such as a candle, burner, or a light bulb ring on your therapeutic oils. Heat destroys the therapeutic qualities of the essential oil - heat fractures the molecules.
Young Living Essential Oils is the world leader in production and is well known for setting the highest standards in the aromatherapy industry. Young Living Essential Oils is a company we trust and highly recommend.
Therapeutic essential oils also have well-documented antiviral, anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties - to further improve indoor air quality. Learn more about diffusing.
Would you like to learn how to save 24% off retail, and receive a mail-in coupon worth $40 off on a Young Living diffuser? Learn More.
Some powerful and relatively inexpensive essential oils that address unwanted pathogens are:
Singles: cinnamon*, clove*, lemon, eucalyptus, lavender, and the pine oils.
Blends: Thieves, Purification, Citrus Fresh (C.F. is not for mold)
*Note: cinnamon and clove are extremely powerful and should only be diffused for very short periods of time, 10 minutes or less if they are the only oils being diffused. It is best to add 2-6 drops of clove or cinnamon with 15-40 drops of another essential oil to help reduce the intensity. Never dilute essential oils with a carrier oil in a nebulizer diffuser as this could harm your diffuser.
Essential Oils and the Seasons
During different times of the year certain scents benefit us emotionally, as well as, addressing issues that can occur more frequently during each season.
Spring and Summer:
The light, refreshing essential oils are the most appropriate for optimal indoor air quality. These include: geranium, lavender, lemon, sandalwood, and the blend Citrus Fresh.
Autumn and Winter:
These essential oils are warming, comforting scents: cypress, nutmeg, frankincense, and the blends Thieves, Purification, Evergreen Essence, Christmas Spirit, and Abundance.
Aromatherapy to Set the Mood for Every Room of Your Home
A calm Living Room: use oils like clary sage, bergamot, rose, jasmine, or the blend Peace & Calming.
To rouse couch potatoes: try stimulating oils like peppermint, lavender and orange combined, or the blend Evergreen Essence.
Bathrooms: to kill odors and germs, try: lemongrass, thyme, peppermint, and the blends Thieves, Purification or Citrus Fresh.
Bedrooms: for a restful sleep, try: lavender and valerian, chamomile, hyssop, or the blends Gentle Baby or Peace & Calming.
Sick room: to prevent the germs from spreading, try: lemongrass, thyme, cinnamon, clove, or the blends Thieves, R.C. or Ravensara.
Clear Negative Energy: after an argument or hard feelings, try: the blends Joy, Harmony, Clarity, Forgiveness or Grounding.
To Uplift Mood: try lavender and orange, or the blends Highest Potential, Magnify Your Purpose or Citrus Fresh.
Romance: try rose, sandalwood with jasmine, Ylang Ylang, patchouli, or the blend Sensation.
Aromatherapy During the Winter
During the winter months there is usually a higher amount of air pollution and bacteria in the air than at other times due to an increase in the closed doors and windows and the fact that cold air keeps air pollution closer to the ground. This increased pollution can lead to respiratory issues for some. The anti-viral, anti-bacterial, and antiseptic properties of essential oils, along with the negative ions and oxygenating molecules which are released when essential oils are diffused all help to reduce bacteria in the air.
Essential Oils Recommended for Air Purification
Singles: cypress, eucalyptus, fir, grapefruit, lavender, lemon, and rosemary.
Blends: Thieves, R.C., Purification, and Citrus Fresh.
Experiencing the physical and psychological benefits of aromatherapy diffusion in your home is amazing and you may wish that you had started doing this much sooner.
Shopping List Suggestions of Essential Oils for Improving Indoor Air Quality
If you're sick and tired of feeling sick around scented products -- but enjoy lovely scents -- you will be quite happy switching over to Young Living Essential Oils. The overall benefits cannot be beat!
Please contact me for more information or if you need assistance.