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The Truth About Air Fresheners

The Truth About Air Fresheners

By Clifford Woods

Do you buy air fresheners for your home or office? Hard to believe that something so small that smells so nice has ingredients in it that are actually dangerous chemicals. Chemicals that you, your family or your co-workers breath in on a daily basis. And to make it worse, there are no labeling requirements to warn you and even “natural” products can contain toxic chemicals.

the truth about air fresheners

It is virtually impossible for the average consumer to know which products may pose a risk or not.

These chemicals in air fresheners have been found to be toxic to humans and these chemicals have been recently investigated for their safety. Investigations concluded that these substances may cause or increase health problems. Air fresheners that are natural and healthy are now being used as alternatives in order to minimize health hazards and environmental pollution.

Basic Ingredients in air fresheners are:

  1. Phthalates
  2. Formaldehyde
  3. Petroleum distillates
  4. DCBs

1. Phthalates are known as “endocrine disruptors” because they mimic the body’s hormones and have, in laboratory animal tests, been shown to cause reproductive and neurological damage.

Toxic phthalates found in some air fresheners:

  • Diethyl Phthalate (DEP): May cause damage to the liver and central nervous system.
  • Dibutyl Phthalate (DBP): May cause damage to the liver and central nervous system.
  • Diisobutyl Phthalate (DIBP): May be harmful if inhaled. May cause respiratory tract irritation.
  • Dimethyl Phthalate (DMP): The substance is toxic to the nervous system.
  • Diisohexyl Phthalate (DIHP): The available studies demonstrate significant effects on the male reproductive organs and developmental effects.2. Formaldehyde (CH2O) Nasal cancer, respiratory tract irritation; reproductive disorders, asthma, dermatitis; multiple organ damage.

2. Formaldehyde (CH2O) Nasal cancer, respiratory tract irritation; reproductive disorders, asthma, dermatitis; multiple organ damage.

3. Petroleum distillates (PDs) – can affect the nervous system causing headache, dizziness, nausea, and loss of balance and coordination. If inhaled – can irritate the nose, throat and lungs. Petroleum Distillates are on the Right to Know Hazardous Substance List because they are cited by OSHA, DOT, NIOSH and IARC. This chemical is on the Special Health Hazard Substance List.

4. Dichlorobenzene (DCBs) – there are three forms of dichlorobenzene. These chemicals are man-made and do not occur in nature.

1,2-Dichlorobenzene, 1,3-Dichlorobenzene, 1,4-Dichlorobenzene

  • 1,2-Dichlorobenzene- This substance is toxic to kidneys, liver, mucous membranes.
  • 1,3-Dichlorobenzene- Very little is known about the human health effects of this substance.
  • 1,4-Dichlorobenzene- This substance is toxic to kidneys, lungs, liver, mucous membranes. Repeated or prolonged exposure to the substance can produce target organs damage. Repeated or prolonged inhalation of dust may lead to chronic respiratory irritation.

Some Helpful Tips

1. Read the labels and you may be able to identify phthalates in some products by their chemical names or abbreviations: (DEP)(DBP)(DIBP)(DIHP)

  • DBP (dibutyl phthalate) and DEP (diethyl phthalate) are often found in nail polishes, deodorants, perfumes, cologne, aftershave lotions, shampoos, hair gels and hand lotions.
  • DEHP (di-(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate or Bis (2-ethylhexyl) phthalate) is used in PVC plastics, including some medical devices.
  • BzBP (benzylbutyl phthalate) is used in some flooring, car products and personal care products.

Be wary of the term “fragrance,” which is used to with a combination of compounds, possibly including phthatates, which are a subject of recent concern because of studies showing they can mimic certain hormones.

Preventative Measures

Ventilation: Good ventilation systems reduce the need for air fresheners by stopping the need to cover up odors and naturally eliminate unpleasant odors. Air fresheners cannot substitute for adequate ventilation.

Use Natural and Safe Air Freshener: Alternatives: many products are available that offer healthy alternatives to commercial air fresheners.

  • Organic Odor Control
  • organic soy and beeswax candles
  • natural potpourri
  • fresh flowers or herbs
  • natural essential oils
  • baking soda

Businesses that are looking to find non-toxic air fresheners should investigate available products to ensure not only their own health but also the health of their employees.

the truth about air fresheners

References:

United States Environmental Protection Agency
Science Lab
Sigma Aldrich
ECHA – European Chemicals Agency
Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS): Formaldehyde
Refuels Recycling Contaminated Fuels
State of New Jersey


Clifford WoodsClifford Woods is the CEO of Effective Environmental Services
and Organic Environmental Technology.
We brew Beneficial Microorganisms that eat toxins and offer Natural Organic Solutions

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The Benefits of an Organic Dry Erase Board Cleaner

The Benefits of an Organic Dry Erase Board Cleaner

By Clifford Woods

Dry erase boards are used all over the world, at seminars, in classrooms and even in the comfort of homes. You are more likely to find them in an official setting than you are likely to find a pen because these implements are replacing paper more and more each day.

Organic Dry Erase Board CleanerThe only catch when using these useful items is that they have to be cleaned. The question most of us do not ask ourselves however is, what is in the cleaner we use for these boards? Is it healthy for humans to use at all?

Since the advent of the dry erase boards, many companies have set out to make a killing on the cleaners. Each company has its formula for coming up with the best cleaner possible and the cleaner is more often than not packaged inside a spray bottle for easy use. Unfortunately, efficient and convenient as they may seem, these fluids are made from inorganic ingredients that are toxic and therefore harmful to human beings. Body parts that come in contact with the cleaner such as the eyes, the skin, the nose and even the mouth can come to a lot of harm through continued use of these inorganic cleaner fluids.

It is common knowledge that most inorganically formulated board cleaner sprays contain isopropyl, ethanol and dichloroacetic acid. These are not naturally occurring and when used over a long period of time can cause severe damage to the human body as a whole. A great alternative to these harmful inorganic cleaning products is an organic dry erase board cleaner.

These are made using 100% natural ingredients and pose zero or no danger at all to the user regardless of how long they are used. A standard organic dry erase board cleaner would normally contain simple ingredients such as water, beneficial microorganisms, molasses, sea salt and other ingredients that pose no danger of any kind to the user.

A severely stained erase board may not become spotlessly clean when this kind of organic cleaner is used, but it will clean the it enough to be used efficiently. This alone can reduce the frequency with which inorganic cleaners are used.

An even better and more interesting way for you to make your dry erase board clean is by formulating your own safe cleaning product. Hand sanitizers can double up as a cleaner for instance. Water mixed with vinegar is also an option when it comes to a home-made cleaning fluid for your board. Other mixtures that have been known to function aptly include toothpaste infused into hairspray. Organic glass cleaner also gets the job done without leaving behind drastic health hazards.

Organic dry erase board cleaners are largely preferred over inorganic for a number of reasons.

First and foremost is the health issues mentioned. No use having a clean board that you will not be around to use long enough now is there? Secondly is the fact that these cleaners can be made right at home, using locally available ingredients. This not only reduces your expenditure but also makes the process safe for everyone.

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Clifford Woods is the CEO of Effective Environmental Services and Organic Environmental Technology.

We brew Beneficial Microorganisms that eat toxins and offer Environmentally Friendly Products.

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