Air fresheners which are used for clean refreshing house or car may smells sweet but very few people understand how bad air fresheners are for their health. Science has confirmed that though air freshener smells sweet but they may cause lung cancer. People with asthma or allergies may want to avoid air fresheners and other chemicals used to spread fragrant scents through their homes, and their doctors should be aware of the hazards.
A chemical called 1, 4-dichlorobenzene, or 1,4-DCB is found in air fresheners, toilet deodorizers, and mothballs, and is present in the blood of nearly all Americans. 1, 4-DCB is the chemical that gives mothballs their distinctive smell and also it was the only chemical in the study which was linked to lung damage.
Those who had the highest amounts of the chemical in their blood showed diminished lung function, which could be serious for those with asthma or other lung problems. Reduced lung function is also a risk factor for heart disease, stroke, and lung cancer.
Air fresheners have been linked to cancer in the past, and this new study may demonstrate one reason why. It really is quite amazing that this chemical found in air fresheners, 1,4-dichlorobenzene, is present in the blood of 96 percent of Americans.
This is especially alarming as this toxic chemical has been associated with so many health problems. In general you want to avoid having any benzene derivative chemicals in your body as they have very similar toxic side effects.
This message is found buy the new studypresented over the weekend at the annual meeting of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI)
Fineman, an allergist at Atlanta Allergy & Asthma Clinic in Georgia said,
"This is a much bigger problem than people realize. About 20 percent of the population and 34 percent of people with asthma report health problems from air fresheners. We know air freshener fragrances can trigger allergy symptoms, aggravate existing allergies and worsen asthma."
“There is not necessarily an increase in allergies to any of the compounds in fragrance products, but that products such as air fresheners, scented candles, plug-in deodorizers and wick diffusers seem to be used much more often”.
Many home fragrances contain VOCs (volatile organic compounds) which "mask" rather than remove home odors.
The most common VOCs found in air fresheners include:
· Esters – formed by condensing an acid with an alcohol. Commonly used for fragrances.
· Formaldehyde – the National Toxicology Program (USA) described formaldehyde as "known to be a human carcinogen." (10th June, 2011). The textile industry uses formaldehyde-based resins to make fabrics crease-resistant. Derivatives are used to manufacture cars, and also to make components for electrical systems, engine blocks, door panels, brake shoes, and axles.
· Limonene – this colorless liquid hydrocarbon has a strong smell of oranges. It is classed as a cyclic terpene. It is used as a precursor to carvone. It is being used increasingly as a solvent for cleaning purposes, e.g. removing oil from machine parts.
· Petroleum Distillates
A recent study found that plug-in deodorizers have over 20 VOCs, one third of which were classed as hazardous or toxic. Some air fresheners have hazardous or toxic levels of VOCs, according to federal guidelines. However, home fragrance sales continue growing relentlessly.