Because they can trigger allergies and potentially cause other health problems, Carpet Pro Cleaners recommends against the use of synthetically fragranced air fresheners, particularly from aerosol spray bottles. Aerosol sprays produce tiny droplets that are easily inhaled and absorbed into the body, and their propellants, usually butane and propane, are flammable. Fragrances can provoke asthmatic or allergic reactions in sensitive individuals. But aerosol air fresheners may also be linked to other, less obvious health effects. In a September 1999 study in New Scientist, researchers at Bristol University recommended caution in using aerosols and air fresheners, after finding that they might be making pregnant women and children sick. In their survey of 14,000 pregnant women, they found that in homes where aerosols and air fresheners were used frequently, mothers suffered from 25% more headaches and 19% more depression, and infants under six months had 30% more ear infections and 22% higher incidence of diarrhea. Another worry is that small children might be tempted to taste air fresheners that smell like fruit or candy. In 2000, 9,887 of the 11,935 reports of hazardous exposures to air fresheners received by U.S. Poison Control Centers involved children under six.
To clear out odors, improve ventilation by opening windows and using fans. Baking soda is good at removing odors, and spritzes of lemon or any citrus fruit freshen air. Wooden cedar blocks, pure essential oils, or sachets of natural dried flowers or herbs (such as aromatic roses, lavender, and lemon verbena) provide gentler fragrance. Read labels: Look out for potpourri that lists “fragrance” as an ingredient, and especially avoid deodorizer blocks that contain paradichlorobenzene, a carcinogen, as a moth repellent.
Aroma Naturals essential oil aromatic room mists, www.aromanaturals.com
JR Watkins Aloe and Green Tea Room Spray www.jrwatkins.com
EcoDaySpa Natural palm wax candles, www.ecodayspa.com
Greenridge Herbals’ aromatherapy soy candles, www.greenridgeherbals.com
Lavender Green, www.lavendergreen.com
The Scented Room Provence Potpourri, www.scentedroom.com
Aura Cacia grapefruit oil www.auracacia.com
Vermont Soy Candles, www.vermontsoycandles.com