Air Fresheners Pollute Indoor Air and Harm Health

“Protect Your Family from the Hidden Hazards in Air Fresheners. Air fresheners have become a staple in many American homes and offices, marketed with the promise of creating a clean, healthy, and sweet-smelling indoor atmosphere. But many of these products contain phthalates (pronounced thal-ates)—hazardous chemicals known to cause hormonal abnormalities, birth defects, and reproductive problems. NRDC’s independent testing of 14 common air fresheners, none of which listed phthalates as an ingredient, uncovered these chemicals in 86 percent (12 of 14) of the products tested, including those advertised as ‘all natural’ or ‘unscented.’”


“Some other examples of potential bad actors in air fresheners are :

  1. Fragrances: Terpenes like alpha and beta pinene as well as limonene are known respiratory irritants at high concentrations.  Although present in nature, these terpenes are put into products at levels that are many, many times higher those levels found in nature.
  2. Solvents/Denaturants:  Many different kinds of aldehydes are present in air fresheners, some as parts of the fragrance, and some (like benzaldehyde and acetaldehyde) as a means to keep the fragrance stable in the product itself. Aldehydes can contribute to cancer, increase asthma rates, and some are even neurotoxic.
  3. Benzene and other similar ingredients like it spread the air freshener fragrance far and wide, uniformly into the home.  Benzene is both a carcinogen and a neurotoxin.”



Air fresheners can trigger asthma and allergies




Commercial air fresheners most often function by dulling the ability to smell. Some of these are neurotoxins. In addition, many products have masking scents…

“…the list of products that can contain added fragrance is almost endless: aftershave, hair spray, soaps, fabric softener, lipstick, air fresheners, cleaning products, even car vinyl and kitty litter.

Since World War II we have embraced man-made chemicals for use in almost all aspects of our lives.  Using materials such as oil, coal, and natural gas, scientists continue to synthesize many never-before-in-existence chemicals and chemically based materials.  …  Volatile Organic Compounds, or VOCs, is a very large family of chemicals which includes all the organic compounds containing carbon, and which readily evaporate into the air.  Although most are liquids at room temperature, they will easily enter air, and they greatly contribute to air pollution.(3)”

From: Scents are Not What They Seem


Healthy alternatives are available on