Protect Your Family from
the Hidden Hazards in Air
Air fresheners have become a staple in many American homes and offices,
marketed with the promise of creating a clean, healthy, and sweet-smelling
indoor atmosphere. But many of these products contain phthalates
(pronounced thal-ates)—hazardous chemicals known to cause hormonal
abnormalities, birth defects, and reproductive problems. NRDC’s
independent testing of 14 common air fresheners, none of which listed
phthalates as an ingredient, uncovered these chemicals in 86 percent
(12 of 14) of the products tested, including those advertised as “allnatural”
If you decide to use an air freshener, however, careful selection may reduce phthalate exposures to you and your family. The table shows which brands we tested contained phthalates. Stronger Regulations Are Needed to Protect Consumers There is a clear need for closer monitoring of the types of chemicals manufacturers are allowed to put into air fresheners—and for consumers to be provided with better information about what is in the products they do purchase. NRDC recommends the following immediate steps: n Consumers should avoid using air fresheners, but when necessary should use products with the lowest levels of phthalates to limit exposures to these potentially dangerous chemicals. n The Environmental Protection Agency should require manufacturers to test and submit data on phthalates found in air fresheners, the extent of human exposure to phthalates in air fresheners, the health effects of the exposure, and the toxicity, persistence, sensitization, and other health effects of inhaling chemicals in air fresheners. n The Consumer Product Safety Commission should ban phthalates in consumer products and should require that manufacturers provide ingredient information on the label. According to studies done by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, the majority of the U.S. population is routinely exposed to at least five different phthalates. Although the measured levels in the human blood stream are small, they are significant because a mixture of phthalates at low doses can act in an additive manner to cause the same health hazards as just one phthalate at a higher dose. The difficulty of avoiding general exposure is all the more reason to eliminate further exposure in an environment over which you have much more control—your home.
Link to full article HERE
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