Toxic Chemicals in Air “Fresheners” and Health Effects

Some people wonder what the fuss about air”fresheners”  is all about.

Air”fresheners” do not freshen the air. In fact, they make the air harmful to breathe!

Thank goodness we have people like Dr Anne Steinemann to tell us what some of the ingredients that harm our health actually are.

Here is a list of some of the chemicals Dr. Anne Steinemann found when she tested a variety of air “fresheners”, taken from a PDF she made available (link below).

Principal Investigator: Anne C. Steinemann, Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering, and Public Affairs, University of Washington. Chemicals identified by gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC/MS) headspace analysis. Health and regulatory information obtained from databases compiled by the National Institutes of Health, Environmental Protection Agency, and other federal agencies. Note that fragranced consumer products are not required to disclose all chemicals, not even ones classified as toxic or hazardous. None of these chemicals were listed on any product label or material safety data sheet.

ACETALDEHYDE (75-07-0)
Recognized Carcinogen
Suspected Developmental Toxicant, Immunotoxicant, Kidney Toxicant, Neurotoxicant, Respiratory Toxicant, Skin or Sense Organ Toxicant
Regulated as toxic/hazardous chemical under the following law(s):
Air Contaminants (OSH Act); Hazardous Air Pollutants (CAA); Hazardous Substances (CERCLA); Regulated Toxic, Explosive, or Flammable Substances (CAA); Toxic Release Inventory Chemicals (EPCRA)

ACETONE (67-64-1)
Suspected Cardiovascular or Blood Toxicant, Gastrointestinal or Liver Toxicant, Kidney Toxicant, Neurotoxicant, Respiratory Toxicant, Skin or Sense Organ Toxicant
Regulated as toxic/hazardous chemical under the following law(s):
Air Contaminants (OSH Act), Hazardous Substances (CERCLA), Registered Pesticides (FIFRA), Air Contaminants (CA OSH Act)

CAMPHOR (76-22-2)
Suspected Gastrointestinal or Liver Toxicant, Neurotoxicant, Respiratory Toxicant, Skin or Sense Organ Toxicant
Regulated as toxic/hazardous chemical under the following law(s):
Air Contaminants (OSH Act), Registered Pesticides (FIFRA), Air Contaminants (CA OSH Act)

ETHANOL (64-17-5)
Suspected Carcinogen, Cardiovascular or Blood Toxicant, Developmental Toxicant, Endocrine Toxicant, Gastrointestinal or Liver Toxicant, Neurotoxicant, Reproductive Toxicant, Respiratory Toxicant, Skin or Sense Organ Toxicant
Regulated as toxic/hazardous chemical under the following law(s):
Air Contaminants (OSH Act), Registered Pesticides (FIFRA)

BENZALDEHYDE (100-52-7)
Suspected Gastrointestinal or Liver Toxicant, Kidney Toxicant, Neurotoxicant, Respiratory Toxicant, Skin or Sense Organ Toxicant
Regulated as toxic/hazardous chemical under the following law(s):
Registered Pesticides (FIFRA)

ISOPROPYL ALCOHOL (67-63-0)
Suspected Cardiovascular or Blood Toxicant, Developmental Toxicant, Gastrointestinal or Liver Toxicant, Kidney Toxicant, Neurotoxicant, Respiratory Toxicant, Skin or Sense Organ Toxicant
Regulated as toxic/hazardous chemical under the following law(s):
Air Contaminants (OSH Act), Registered Pesticides (FIFRA), Toxic Release Inventory Chemicals (EPCRA)

?-PINENE (80-56-8)
Suspected Neurotoxicant, Respiratory Toxicant, Skin or Sense Organ Toxicant
Regulated as toxic/hazardous chemical under the following law(s):
Registered Pesticides (FIFRA)

BENZYL ACETATE (140-11-4)
Suspected Gastrointestinal or Liver Toxicant, Kidney Toxicant, Neurotoxicant, Respiratory Toxicant

ETHYL ACETATE (141-78-6)
Suspected Neurotoxicant, Respiratory Toxicant, Skin or Sense Organ Toxicant
Regulated as toxic/hazardous chemical under the following law(s):
Air Contaminants (OSH Act), Hazardous Substances (CERCLA), Registered Pesticides (FIFRA)

ISOAMYL ACETATE (1-BUTANOL, 3-METHYL-, ACETATE) (123-92-2)
Suspected Neurotoxicant
Regulated as toxic/hazardous chemical under the following law(s):
Air Contaminants (OSH Act), Hazardous Substances (CERCLA)
O, M, OR P-CYMENE (527-84-4, 535-77-3, and 99-87-6)
Suspected Cardiovascular or Blood Toxicant, Neurotoxicant, Respiratory Toxicant

LIMONENE (138-86-3)
Regulated as toxic/hazardous chemical under the following law(s):
Registered Pesticides (FIFRA)

LINALOOL (78-70-6)
Regulated as toxic/hazardous chemical under the following law(s):
Registered Pesticides (FIFRA)

5-METHYL-3-HEPTANONE (ETHYL SEC-AMYL KETONE) (541-85-5)
Suspected Neurotoxicant
Regulated as toxic/hazardous chemical under the following law(s):
Air Contaminants (OSH Act), Air Contaminants (CA OSH Act)

tert-BUTYL ALCOHOL (75-65-0)
Suspected Developmental Toxicant, Kidney Toxicant, Neurotoxicant
Regulated as toxic/hazardous chemical under the following law(s):
Air Contaminants (OSH Act), Registered Pesticides (FIFRA), Toxic Release Inventory Chemicals (EPCRA), Air Contaminants (CA OSH Act)

METHANOL (67-56-1)
Suspected Developmental Toxicant, Endocrine Toxicant, Gastrointestinal or Liver Toxicant, Kidney Toxicant, Neurotoxicant, Reproductive Toxicant, Respiratory Toxicant, Skin or Sense Organ Toxicant
Regulated as toxic/hazardous chemical under the following law(s):
Air Contaminants (OSH Act), Hazardous Air Pollutants (CAA), Hazardous Substances (CERCLA), Registered Pesticides (FIFRA), Toxic Release Inventory Chemicals (EPCRA), Air Contaminants (CA OSH Act), Toxic Air Contaminant (CA TAC)

METHYL BENZOATE (93-58-3)
Suspected Gastrointestinal or Liver Toxicant, Neurotoxicant, Skin or Sense Organ Toxicant

http://www.drsteinemann.com/Resources/Toxic%20Chemicals%20in%20Air%20Fresheners.pdf

Note that Phthalates have also been found in most air fresheners.

PHTHALATES
Suspected: Developmental Toxicant, Endocrine Toxicant, Reproductive Toxicant
considered neurotoxic, and may be developmentally neurotoxic

Instead of using these toxic chemicals, clean with baking soda and open a window!

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3 responses to “Toxic Chemicals in Air “Fresheners” and Health Effects

  1. I wish our mast cell doctor could get his office to follow a clean air policy

    • It really is a wonder why medical offices do not have clean air (and I don’t mean sanitized with chemicals clean air, but non-toxic clean air)
      Have you tried to give them info on the health problems associated with fragrance chemicals and other VOCs?
      If that isn’t sufficient, and you have the energy (perhaps co-operating with other patients on both efforts) sometimes human rights accessibility challenges can be effective. Or suggesting that the group will make an effort to find a different doctor if the air quality isn’t addressed. Sadly, $ tends to talk louder than other things these days.
      Wishing you success!

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