HOME FRAGRANCES AND AIR FRESHENERS

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One of the biggest air pollutants in our homes are synthetic smells - all those fake smelling products that we ironically bring into our home in hopes of making our homes smell nice and fresh. 73% of people surveyed in the US admitted to using air fresheners at least once a week. Yet all these so-called air fresheners and home fragrances do is mask odors with harmful chemicals created to mimic things we find pleasant.

 

Here's the thing - not everything in your home should smell like an ocean breeze or fresh rain. Vast amounts of marketing and advertising dollars are spent on conditioning us to be self conscious and concerned about what real life really smells like, so that we think we need to buy products to cover up even the faintest odors. 

A perfect example of this are scented trash bags, that unleash a host of chemicals into the air we breathe, so our trash smells, well, less trashy. While the more practical and less toxic solution might be to simply take out your trash more often. 

FRAGRANCES

All fragranced products, whether sprays, plug-ins, wicks, candles, gels and beads, or those incessant car hangars, have as their primary ingredient, “fragrance”. And although fragrance looks like it’s one innocent ingredient on the label, it’s actually a blend of up to 5,000 fragrance molecules that are used in combination to create the product’s signature smell. 

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) explained it this way:  “When you see ‘fragrance’ on a product's label, read it as ‘hidden chemicals.’” How is this possible you ask? A major loophole in FDA's federal law lets manufacturers include nearly any ingredient under the name fragrance without actually listing the chemical if they claim their fragrance formula is a trade-secret.

Most synthetic fragrances, up to 95% in fact, are derived from petroleum and include benzene derivatives, toluene, and many other known toxic chemicals linked to cancer, birth defects, central nervous system disorders and allergic reactions. And that’s not all. Take air fresheners like Febreze, Glade, AirWick for example. The basic ingredients in these products are (brace yourselves): formaldehyde, petroleum distillates, 1,4 dichlorobenzene aerosol propellants and phthalates. You don’t even need to know what these chemicals are to get the hint that they’re nasty stuff. 

So to recap, the problem with fragranced home products is three fold:

  1. chemicals are used to create the synthetic, aka fake smells.

  2. manufacturers are not required to disclose the ingredients, so it’s virtually impossible to know what you’re unleashing onto your body and into your home.

  3. these fake smells are extremely harmful to your health.

Bottom line: ditch all products that list "fragrance" as an ingredient. 

Not to worry, especially if you're like me and love candles, I've created a GUIDE to TOXIN-FREE HOME FRESHENERS AND FRAGRANCES  to help you naturally tackle smells and odors and even add pleasant fragrances to our home in a healthier, less toxic way.