Fortified Health Club: Small Changes Make Big Impacts

Do Air Fresheners Do More Than Just “Freshen”?

May 20, 2016 by Faith Hill

Do air fresheners really freshen the air we breathe?

You might call me "hypersensitive", but one of my pet peeves is to walk into a room that has just been sprayed with a ton of air freshener.

I just cannot stand it!

Immediately, I start to feel effects like headache and congestion, and I’ve always wondered why. So I did a little research and discovered that some scary stuff is hidden in air fresheners.

The American Cancer Society website lists every known type of cancer alongside the chemical known to cause it, yet the same chemicals are still allowed in our products. Take a look at the following list of ingredients in air fresheners.

Could the cure for cancer be found in the cause?

And are air fresheners a good idea? You tell me.

Let's explore the list of ingredients allowed in our air fresheners.

• Phthalates

Phthalates are present in a wide variety of common products despite being known to cause abnormal reproductive organ development and function.

These are major hormone disruptors, and a recent article revealed that even only one exposure to phthalates/week increases your risk of asthma by up to 70 percent.

And you breathe them in every time you use an air freshener.

• Acetone

Who would have thought that acetone (the active ingredient in nail polish remover and paint thinner) would be an ingredient in air fresheners?

This chemical compound is a known toxin and affects the blood, heart, gastrointestinal tract, liver, kidney, skin, and respiratory system.

• Butane and isobutane

That’s right .. the same chemical that’s used as lighter fluid (LIGHTER FLUID, y'all!) is present in air fresheners.

Butane and isobutane are known to cause damage to the brain and nervous system.

So when you breathe in that “fresh” scent ..

.. it starts affecting your brain immediately.

• Perfumes

Ooh, this is a biggie.

Beware of the words “fragrance” or “perfume.”

These umbrella terms can mask over 400 different chemicals, but companies aren’t required to disclose them.


Because the formulas are considered proprietary information. Ninety-five percent of perfume chemicals are derived from petroleum, which has been proven to cause headaches, dizziness, depression, and even behavioral changes.

Think twice before allowing “fragrances” into your space.

• Benzene

Benzene is a chemical compound found in crude oil.

It is a highly-flammable human carcinogen and has been especially linked to leukemia. Remember, a carcinogen is defined as a substance capable of causing cancer in living tissue.

The bigger question should be why are these carcinogens allowed in our products?!

• Formaldehyde

You might recognize this dangerous toxin from its use in human embalming fluids ..

.. but did you know it’s also in your air fresheners?

Formaldehyde causes cancer of the upper airways. That's the PRECISE ROUTE that air fresheners take to enter your body.

Air Fresheners: Do We Need Them?

We get it. Stuff stinks. Places stink. People stink. Clothes stink. The list goes on and on.

But re-read the above list of ingredients found in our air fresheners. Is exposure to those chemicals worth it, or is it worth finding alternatives?

The next time you think you need an air freshener, ask yourself a few questions, like these.

WHY Does the Air Stink?

Air smells for a reason, just like your body may hurt for a reason.

Instead of trying to "mask the funk" (i.e., air fresheners), find the cause and get rid of it!

If there’s a dingy smell, something needs to be addressed. A bad smell could indicate reduced airflow, ventilation problems, or even mold or mildew.

Clean or remove the cause of the odor, and the problem will likely go away on its own.

Air fresheners are just no substitute for real fresh air.

So if you're in an office, do you have access to windows? How about doors to outside?

Whether at home or the office, simply open your windows and doors.

You will be amazed at the difference of just airing out your home. It's kinda like detoxing your air.

We take clean air for granted far too often.

Is There An Alternative?

If you feel the need for a nice smell (an essence to the room), use essential oils. They’re pure, they smell great, and they have zero side effects to your body.

Air fresheners might make you think the environment is clean, but your cells are not fooled. We give little thought to the substances we’re breathing, but it’s essential to know what’s going into your body.

Remember: Clean air does not smell!

The notion that air fresheners make the air “fresh” is absolutely inaccurate.

If essential oils are new to you, learn more about the top 3 Essential Oils to get started with today.