Are Plug In Air Fresheners Safe?

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Vanilla Latte, Bali Sunset or Cotton Fields; that's what I like my home to smell of. The uplifting aroma that wanders around the house from my entryway plug socket used to be an everyday indulgence. In fact if I'm honest, some weeks there was a plug in air freshener in the entryway, the landing, my bedroom, the sitting room and the spare bedroom. That's a lot of yummy smelling air.

Its not cheap either, according to an article in the Daily Mail, in the UK alone we spend over 400 million pounds a year in improving the smell in our homes. When I now think about my own spend on just the plug in kind -  the brand I used to buy was approx £5 for a refill - going through 3 refils a month is a staggering cost of £180 a year!

Whilst I'm not naive enough to think Borrowers size Latte's were hiding in the oily glass container in the wall, I hadn't ever stopped to think about the chemicals I was pumping into the air. Was there any dangers with using air fresheners?

After a little research (which was suprisingly easy to find), I'm happy to say that the last 'plug in' in my home has run out - never to return.

Most commercial air fresheners contain:

1,4-dichlorobenzene or 1,4-DCB - Linked to a reduction in lung function, increased asthma rates and shown to cause cancer in rats.

Phthalates - A family of chemicals found in plastics, cosmetics and other household products. Have been listed as 'reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen', suspected to be endocrine disruptors, and some found to possibly affect human reproduction or development.

Studies also found that plug in air fresheners produce a 'considerable' amount of Formaldehyde - a known carcinogen.

When we buy consumer products off the supermarket shelves, we assume them to be 'safe' to use in our homes. But 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.”

Even commercial air fresheners that were advertised as 'all natural' or containing 'Essential Oils' were found to contain concerning chemicals in a study from 2007. None of the chemicals were actually listed on the labels.

In contrast; SC Johnson, the makers of Glade plug in air fresheners state about the ingredients used -  'Safety evaluations have deemed them safe for use in consumer products such as air fresheners.'

As consumers it is our responsibility to decide if we want these products in our homes, no company forces us to purchase or use them. Personally, I will be looking to find some natural alternatives and hope to post about them soon.

Do you use air fresheners in your home? Do you have any concerns?

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