Are air fresheners bad for you?

Ever asked yourself if air freshers can be harmful? Small and convenient, they’re a great way to get rid of stink as well as just freshen up a small space such as your vehicle. If you’re a lover of air freshening products, you’re probably not going to like what follows.

Researchers have found that pretty much anything that emits a scent, including all-natural and even organic-labeled products, can be hazardous. What toxic chemicals are in air freshers? A US study by Anne Steinemann in 2016 notes that a majority of fragrant products contain harmful volatile organic compounds (VOCs).

Are air fresheners toxic? Can air fresheners cause breathing problems? Her report also says “Fragranced products have been associated with a range of adverse health effects, such as migraine headaches, asthma attacks, respiratory difficulties, neurological problems, mucosal symptoms, and contact dermatitis.”

Those claims have been backed up by numerous other organizations including the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) who have also found scent-emitting products contain a fair amount of hazardous chemicals such as phthalates.

The reason, they say, is due to lack of safety checks and regulations that force companies to list ingredients on their labels, something that for more than two decades, remains an unresolved issue.

While laboratory studies find that, when used indoors, many common household cleaners and air fresheners emit toxic pollutants that can lead to health risks, they also say that the most at-risk are professional cleaners who are exposed long-term and/or on a regular basis.

A Simmons National Consumer Survey (NHCS) shows that in 2018, more than 250 million Americans used air freshener spray and room deodorizers.