Thursday, April 23, 2009


It is unusual to enter a home or public building these days without being blasted with a strong and often offensive whiff of some sort of “air freshener”. My typical reaction is burning eyes, throat irritation and a headache. I’ve always assumed that this response was related to the artificial fragrance. I’ve discovered, though, that the concern goes far beyond that.

In an independent testing, the NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council) uncovered the hazardous group of chemicals, phthalate, in 86 percent (12 of 14) of the air fresheners tested, including those advertised as “all natural” or “unscented.” (

Phthalates are used in many products: vinyl, cosmetics, paints, sealants and more. In air fresheners, phthalates dissolve and carry the smell of fragrances. When released into the air, phthalates are not only inhaled, but also absorbed through the skin. These toxic chemicals disrupt hormone activity, especially thyroid function. Resulting complications may be birth defects, improper brain development, cancer, allergic reactions, asthma, and metabolism and reproductive abnormalities.

A 2005 European Consumers Union study found high levels of volatile organic compounds, including benzene and formaldehyde in some air fresheners. Benzene is known to cause leukemia in humans, and formaldehyde has been linked to cancers of the upper airways.

What is the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) doing about this? Absolutely nothing! Although other governments have outlawed harmful phthalates, the FDA not only does not regulate their use, but does not even require listing phthalates on content labels!

Just because air fresheners are a $1.72 billion industry and are estimated to be used in 75% of American homes, doesn’t mean that we can’t take action against this stinkin’ situation in our own homes! It is fun, easy, healthy and inexpensive to make air fresheners by blending almost any essential oils.

I purchase organic essential oils from Do not use essential oils that are not organic! Some of the non-organic essential oils may be as hazardous as the phthalates!

I like to change the oils that I use depending on the season or to assist with any health problems which my husband or I might be experiencing. You can find many aromatic and healthy air freshener recipes on the internet by searching “essential oil air freshener recipe”. Below is a recipe for a spring-time air freshener to get you started:

• 20 drops rosemary
• 8 drops sweet orange
• 4 drops peppermint
• 2 drops spearmint


• Use a 4 oz. spray bottle which allows room for shaking.
• Pour 1.5 ounces of distilled water into the bottle
• Add 1.5 ounces of high-proof alcohol, such as vodka.
• While considering the safety data of your chosen oils, add 30-40 drops of your favorite essential oil or oil blend. (Consider starting with 20 drops. Allow to rest for 24 hours before concluding that the aroma is too weak. Adjust to preferred strength in increments of 5-10 drops.)
• Shake the bottle prior to each use and mist lightly in the room.
Be especially careful not to allow the air freshener mist to fall onto furniture.

Do your olfactory senses and your health a favor, trash the store-bought and enjoy the satisfaction of making your own!


All content of this article is commentary or opinion and is protected under Free Speech. The author sells no hard products and earns no money from the recommendation of products. The information herein is presented for educational and commentary purposes only and should not be construed as professional advice from any licensed practitioner. The information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent disease. This is best left to the Creator of the universe. In all health-related situations, “qualified healthcare professionals” should always be consulted. The author deems THE GREAT PHYSICIAN to be most qualified. The author assumes no responsibility for the use or misuse of this material

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