Air fresheners have become extremely common, but the concept behind them is flawed. For instance, air fresheners are used to mask odors, but those smells exist for a reason. The ideal response to odors is eliminating their source, or like in the case of a gym, to increase the intake of outside air.
Air fresheners may be quicker in the short term, but in the long term, the diseases and illnesses that you will inevitably encounter make other options worthwhile. People are much more likely to become sick whilst using these; both from the immune-suppressing chemicals released, and from the molds and bacteria that are left growing unchecked.
Almost all air fresheners contain dichlorobenzene, a chemical comprised of chlorine and benzene. It is a known carcinogen, and an EPA-registered pesticide. Animals exposed to it developed liver and kidney tumors. It is found in the bloodstream of almost every American.
Dichlorobenzene is, in large part, the reason why so many pet birds die directly after the use of air fresheners. Due to reports of bird deaths on the Internet, Febreze 'funded' its own study into this, and (without surprise) concluded that there are no safety issues in regard to pet birds. Of course, if I had to choose whether to trust the hundreds of people whose birds mysteriously died, or the Febreze company, then I know who I would trust. Readers may recall that pet canaries were once used in coal mines to detect the presence of poison gases, and miners knew to evacuate the area if any canary died.
Many people would be surprised to learn that air fresheners inhibit one's ability to smell, for they were designed as chemical numbing agents for the nasal area. Spraying chemicals to suppress one's senses is extremely barbaric and dangerous. Doing so is the equivalent of walking around blindfolded to escape the effects of bright lights; except blindfolds are not poisonous, or carcinogenic.
The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) studied the effects of air fresheners, discovering that they currently undergo no safety testing. The results were disturbing, because they revealed high levels of phthalates, which are known to be especially harmful to children. These chemicals were even present in sprays which were claimed to be "All-Natural" and "unscented". Phthalates were not disclosed in the list of ingredients for any of the products.
"Phthalates are hormone-disrupting chemicals that can be particularly dangerous for young children and unborn babies. Exposure to phthalates can affect testosterone levels and lead to reproductive abnormalities, including abnormal genitalia and reduced sperm production. The State of California notes that five types of phthalates -- including one that we found in air freshener products -- are 'known to cause birth defects or reproductive harm.'"
Just like in the case of hand sanitizers, convenience is not the safest option. For the sake of your own health, and that of your family; forgo the chemicals and open a window, or have a house cleaning. There is no substitute for cleanliness and good hygiene.
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