Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Air Fresheners

Are store-bought air fresheners safe? According to researchers, being exposed to air freshener chemicals just once a week can increase your risk of developing asthma by 71 percent. People with high blood levels of the chemical 1,4 dichlorobenzene (commonly found in air freshener products) were at higher risk of developing lung deficiencies.

Additional studies indicate a connection to cancer. When used in small rooms with poor ventilation, many air fresheners emit toxins containing significant levels of formaldehyde. This chemical has been proven to cause cancer in animals and respiratory decline in humans. In 2007, The Natural Resources Defense Council conducted studies on 14 air fresheners. Twelve were found to contain phthalates which are chemicals found to affect fertility, increase the risk of cancer, and cause developmental problems in infants.

Good alternatives to artificial air fresheners are making sure to keep your home clean by using a natural cleaner such as a diluted solution of water and vinegar and/or baking soda. Hydrogen peroxide also makes an excellent cleaner and keeps unpleasant odors away. Elimination of odors is the key to keeping your air fresh and clean - don't merely mask the source of the problem with artificial air fresheners. Open your windows periodically, dust, vacuum, and use few rugs or carpets. Replace carpet with wood or tile. Keep aromatic plants in your home such as lavender, fresh flowers, and herbs.

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