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Alternatives to Toxic Air Freshener

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Alternatives to Toxic Air Fresheners

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Alexandra Scranton
Director of Science
and Research

Although air fresheners have become a staple in many homes and offices, the ingredients that make up those fresh and tropical scents are routinely kept secret from consumers like us—and some of those chemicals may be toxic.

Studies are increasingly showing that chemicals in fragrance are harming our health, particularly the health of women and children:

  • One study of pregnant women showed a link between the use of air fresheners and aerosol sprays and an increase in headaches and depression in the mothers, as well as ear infections and diarrhea in their babies.
  • Certain hormone disrupting chemicals found in fragrance can have significant lifelong effects on reproductive health and development, like galaxolide and tonalide (detected in our blood, breast milk, and even newborns) and phthalates (linked to reproductive harm in baby boys).
  • Women are 2-3 times more likely than men to suffer from fragrance allergies. Women also become sensitized to fragrance at earlier ages than men.
  • Girls have higher sensitization rates to fragrance allergens than boys, and studies show increasing diagnoses of allergic contact dermatitis and eczema in children.
  • Research indicates that the more we used fragranced products, the higher the levels of fragrance chemicals in our bodies.

When it comes to chemicals linked to allergies, cancer, and reproductive harm, we have a right to know what’s in the fragrances we’re spraying in our homes.

Until companies come clean on the ingredients they’re using in fragrance, try some of these non-toxic alternatives to air fresheners.


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Eliminate odor. We use air freshener because something in the room smells bad – if we can identify the smell and eliminate or prevent it, we don’t even need air freshener. Check out WVE’s tips for reducing odors around the home.

Green Cleaning Recipes. Try a few of our favorite DIY non-toxic recipes to help reduce exposure to fragrance chemicals.

Open a window. In addition to that fresher spring feeling in your home, opening windows has some health benefits too: ventilating your home with outdoor air has been shown to reduce symptoms associated with asthma, allergies and infections. So let in that fresh summer air!

Set out a bouquet of fresh or dried flowers to add a floral scent to your home.

Try simmering herbs or spices on the stove. You can even use seasonal alternatives like pine cones, pine needles, or cinnamon.



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