Fragrances That Kill


Can the fragrances in laundry products or air fresheners hurt you?  A new study states many of these products contain or emit different chemicals, some of which are regulated as toxic or
hazardous under federal law.  Though none of these chemicals are listed on the labels.  Chemicals that produce a fragrance are not required by the FDA to be listed on the outside label.  “I didn’t find a brand that didn’t emit at least one toxic chemical, ” said Anne C. Steinemann, PhD. the professor at the University of Washington, Seattle who conducted the study.

Many representatives in the industry protested the study stating their products were safe.  They state that the amount of the toxic chemicals used, were at levels below that which would cause a problem.   And the segment of the population that is sensitive to their products should just avoid them.

Steinemann decided to do the study after, “I actually witnessed someone having a seizure when exposed to an air freshener.”  In her laboratory she put products in an isolated space at room temperature and then measured the surrounding air for volatile organic compounds (VOCs).  She detected up to 100 different VOCs at levels above 300 micrograms.  Many consider this a level to pose potential concern.

Other than the problem of toxins in our products, is that, there are no laws requiring these substances be identified on the outside label.  As stated earlier the FDA does not require companies to list the chemicals used in the development of a products fragrance.  Consumers are not aware or able to avoid products that they have a sensitivity to these compounds.

To be safe, pick laundry products that do not have a fragrance.  Use natural alternatives for air fresheners, such as baking soda, open a window, cut open an orange or use spearmint leaves.  If you have other suggestions for air fresheners, please send them to me and I will include them in the Octobers Newsletter.

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  1. I also heard that dryer sheets have animal fat in them, not sure if this is true, but that’s kind of disgusting. I have used lemon as an air freshener, it’s also great for freshening your garbage disposal.

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