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Do Manufacturers Adequately Test Air Fresheners?

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This is part two of a five-part health report on air freshener safety. In part one, the question was are air fresheners safe?. Do you know the answer to that question? Please read part one for a better understanding of this and other parts of the health series on indoor air pollution.

An Opposing View on Air Freshener Safety: If you read part one of this article, you probably figured out that I do not think most popular air fresheners are safe. The chemicals in most of them are toxic, to one degree or another, and I cannot imagine why people use them when there are wonderful natural options for freshening the air. However, in the interest of fairness, this report would not be complete with presenting the opposing view that I also found online when I visited the Consumer Specialty Products Association.

According to information I found there (that page is coming up as not found now and could not find the information again when I checked whiled revising this page) air fresheners are safe. The page that I visited contained a question about whether air fresheners and other scented products are tested for health and safety. The reply: "Manufacturers evaluate products for health and safety to assure that products are safe and effective. Ingredients are routinely examined to ensure that exposure levels from product use and potential misuses are below the level that would pose significant health risk. Moreover, the Research Institute for Fragrance Materials (RIFM) evaluates the safety of fragrance raw materials found in perfumes, air fresheners and other scented products and provides safety assessments. "An independent, international Expert Panel of dermatologists, pathologists, toxicologists, and environmental scientists evaluates RIFM's scientific findings."

My Personal View on Air Freshener Safety: The glowing review on the CSPA website notwithstanding, I don't use air fresheners, period. Quite honestly, when I see those commercials where people are sniffing the carpet (you know the ones) I feel a little nauseous. I actually would be nauseous if I smelled that particular air freshener for very long. I've wanted to do a spoof on the commercials, where the actors are breathing in the smell as if it is ambrosia. In my commercial, I'd be gagging and falling to the floor.

I love the smell of nothing but air in my air, even though I know I never breathe just air. Air pollution is everywhere. I figure our world has enough chemicals in it without adding more to the air I breathe in my home.If I want scent, there are always essential oils which smell wonderful and are also full of natural health benefits. Essential oils diffused can bring about that same fresh scent without the added chemicals (of course, EO's can have chemicals too so it's important to pick pure essential oils).

Respiratory Health Disclaimer: Despite the assurance of the CSPA that air fresheners are safe and that asthma attacks are more likely to be the result of biological contaminants than ingredients in air fresheners, there is a consensus elsewhere that those with respiratory health issues like asthma, COPD or allergies involving breathing function should carefully monitor use of chemicals in their breathing environment.