Many store-bought air fresheners contain toxic chemicals, spreading them throughout your home every time you use them. Youâ€™ve probably used these products for years, and may be thinking to yourself that youâ€™ve yet to experience any side effects. But did you know that prolonged use can cause serious health problems which you may never attribute to your commercial air fresheners? A study conducted by the University of Washington in 2010 found that out of the 25 commonly used scented products they tested, there were an average of 17 chemicals emitted from each one. There were 133 total chemicals identified throughout the entire testing process and approximately 25 percent are considered hazardous or toxic. Surprisingly, only one was listed on the product label. What about the other 132 chemical compounds that you are unknowingly discharging into the air? The sad thing is that manufacturers of these types of air freshening scented products (as well as personal care products, cleaning supplies and laundry products) are not required to disclose what goes into making them! Here are just a few of the toxic chemical in your commercial air fresheners: Phenols â€“ Phenols are made from crude oil through a series of manufacturing processes. Phenols can be inhaled and are readily absorbed through the skin. They have been linked to skin irritations, wheezing, coughing, upset stomach, kidney and liver damage. Some suspect they may be a contributor to autism in children as well. Formaldehyde â€“ In its basic form, formaldehyde is a colorless gas. Itâ€™s used in a variety of products because it is a good binding agent and cheap to manufacture. Formaldehyde can be absorbed through the skin or inhaled and has been linked to sleeplessness, fatigue, headache, breathing difficulties, nausea, diarrhea and bronchitis, to name a few. Phthalates â€“ These endocrine disruptors interfere with the natural hormone processes of the body. Phthalates are linked to reproductive damage, birth defects, developmental disabilities and cancer. Needless to say, these products are better left unused. An alternative to using these damaging products is creating your own â€œgreenâ€ air freshener from a just a few ingredients. The items you will need to create a basic homemade air freshening spray are: â€¢ A 16 oz. clean spray bottle â€¢ Warm water â€¢ Essential oil(s) Fill the spray bottle with water leaving approximately 1 inch from the top. Then use 8-10 drops of your favorite essential oils (adjust amount to your liking) and shake for 30 seconds. Be sure to shake before each use.
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