We are fed many advertising ‘untruths’ but one stands out. Air Fresheners suggests that these spray cans can actually “clean” or “freshen” the air that we breathe.
How anything can be fresher than oxygen! There are numerous ways in which fresheners work.
They either contain a nerve-deadening chemical that affects your ability to smell, coats your nasal passage with an oily film, covers one smell with another or by breaking down the bad odour.
What is most dangerous about these sprays is that the chemicals, when mixed with ozone, can sometimes create Formaldehyde, a known poison which is carcinogenic.
Some other chemicals used in these products are Benzyl Alcohol, Camphor, Dichlorobenzene, Ethanol, Limonene, Naphthalene, Phthalates, Phenol, Pinene, and Cresol. These names may not mean anything to you or I, and it is very difficult to gain an understanding of them. Their confusing titles and what they entail are surely only known to scientists.
The truth about these chemicals is that they cause some distressing physical effects. A common side effect to ingesting the chemicals is headaches, nausea, and vomiting. Also, irritation of the skin, eyes, nose and throat.
Some more serious effects are toxicity of the respiratory, cardiovascular, developmental, endocrine, neurological, and gastrointestinal systems.
One of the worst toxins utilised is a central nervous system depressant, kidney and liver poison. Some of the synthetic chemicals in air fresheners also can aggravate asthma and/or trigger attacks. Some have actually been linked to cancer, neurological damage and reproductive disorders.
However disturbing the dangers may be, it is very easy to use alternatives to chemically filled sprays. Using an oil burner with essential oils is a harmless way to eliminate odours. They are also said to have some health benefits, as opposed to harmful ones. Some oils can be mood lifters too which is an added benefit.
Baking Soda can eliminate smells if you sprinkle over carpet and then vacuum. A natural deodoriser. Placing pieces of cloth or cotton balls soaked in oils and placed around the house can keep you indoors smelling fresh.
Of course, the most natural way to eliminate odours is to open the window and let the (actual) fresh air in!
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