If you are considering using eco cleaning cleaning products, you may be surprised to know that, contrary to popular opinion, fragrances and air fresheners are bad for you! There is good reason that those concerned about eco cleaning products seek “fragrance free” products – because the fragrance is bad for you.
Most fragrances and air fresheners are synthetic, petrochemical based substances that are made of extremely toxic chemicals, thus cannot be considered one of the desired eco cleaning products. Several chemicals common in fragrance are volatile organic compounds (VOCs) like benzaldehyde and toluene, both of which are skin and lung irritants and may also have more serious systemic health effects, particularly on the nervous system.
In popular air fresheners that we place inside our home, the four basic ingredients are formaldehyde, petroleum distillates, p-dichlorobenzene, and aerosol propellants. As of 2011, formaldehyde is listed as a known carcinogen. Exposure to these chemicals results in many adverse health effects, including causing liver damage.
If this is not enough a deterrent and motivation to switch to eco cleaning products, consider how they work. Since air fresheners are nerve-deadening chemicals, i.e. neurotoxins, they work by coating your nasal passage with an oily film to deaden your ability to smell. Alternatively they are designed to mask an offending odor with a different odor instead of eliminating them or the smelly source.
Furthermore, Women’s Voices for the Earth, in their Report Card on Household Chemicals, have reported that phthalates, the carriers for fragrance, been linked to adverse effects on male children, reduced sperm count in adult men, and increased allergic symptoms and asthma in children.
So you may ask why we have so many fragrance laden products. The chemicals in many traditional cleaning products are pungent and strong smelling. So strong in fact that they require the use of heavy fragrances just to cover up the chemical smells that we are not accustomed to smelling in our homes normally. A reason in itself for using eco cleaning products!
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Unfortunately it is hard to learn about the fragrances that are used in air fresheners and cleaning products for two reasons:
- A little goes a long way so it stays under the radar screen of attention
- Many companies regard fragrance as a corporate trade secret, which further hinders efforts to require disclosure of the ingredients
In short, the use of fragrances and air fresheners, while they might seem like a good idea, can cause real problems for you, your pets or your family. We STRONGLY recommend that you consider using green and eco cleaning products to limit the exposure you have to toxic chemicals disguised in a pretty smell!