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The Potential Dangers Of Fresh Air

The occasional foul odor from the bathroom, kitchen, or trash can can really ruin your day, and most of us could not get along in the home or office without an air freshening spray or plug-in. Luckily we have cans of delightful scents at our fingertips just waiting to take those awful smells away. Unfortunately, not all air fresheners are safe to use, at least not around humans anyway.

Most common air freshener sprays and plug-ins mask bad scents with a fragrance. Some of these fragrances unfortunately contain chemicals called pthalates. These chemicals, when they are used habitually, have been linked to a number of developmental issues in children and developing fetuses including early puberty and birth defects. These pthalates are also unlisted on ingredient lists, they will usually be listed as fragrance or parfum.

Another chemical found in the fragrance of these air fresheners is 1.4-dichlorobenzene, more commonly referred to as 1.4-DCB, is believed to be a carcinogen and has been linked to kidney and testicular cancer and can cause impairment to lung functioning.

There are also a number of dangerous VOCs or volatile organic compounds contained in these sprayers including such dangerous compounds as benzene, formaldehyde and styrene usually used as propellants or as a suspension for the fragrance.

That is not to say that all air fresheners are dangerous. Rather, it's important that when purchasing air fresheners, it's vital to do your research to ensure that your family, friends or co-workers are not being poisoned for the sake of a better scent.

A number of air freshener alternatives are available that neutralize odor without spreading harmful chemicals. Another option is the use of natural botanical sprays, which use scents derived directly from plant extracts mixed with water that spray without the use of harmful chemical propellants.