Health hazard of home air fresheners

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health hazard of home air fresheners

Just bought your home but don’t like the smell inside it? Or already have been living in your condo for a few years and want to refresh the air inside? Or preparing your house for sale perfectly knowing that bad smells are the real estate deal killers?

An air freshener or purifier seems like the instant answer to household odors. Since antiquity, natural scents of flowers have been used to improve the odor of home air. Today, there are a diversity of air fresheners, plug-in electric and spray aerosols on the market. People worldwide are embracing aerosol dispersion of chemicals as an intense, refreshing experience.

What are the ingredients? Secret!

Actually, ingredients are legally considered trade secrets, protected by law.

What are the ingredients? Toxic!

Many air fresheners employ carcinogens, volatile organic compounds and known toxins such as phthalate esters in their formulas. A Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) study of 13 common household air fresheners found that most of the surveyed products contain chemicals that can aggravate asthma and affect reproductive development. The NRDC called for more rigorous supervision of the manufacturers and their products, which are widely assumed to be safe.

In this article we’d like to pay special attention to air purifiers that release ozone to clean the air.

An air purifier is a device which removes contaminants from the air. These devices are commonly marketed as being beneficial to allergy sufferers and asthmatics, and at reducing or eliminating second-hand tobacco smoke.

Do not use air purifiers that release ozone to clean the air!!!

Health Canada advises against using air purifiers that intentionally release ozone to clean the air.

Ozone is a gas that can irritate your eyes, nose, throat, and lungs and is itself a major air pollutant. Ozone can damage the lungs, causing chest pain, coughing, shortness of breath and throat irritation. It can also worsen chronic respiratory diseases such as asthma and compromise the ability of the body to fight respiratory infections – even in healthy people. People who have asthma and allergy are most prone to the adverse effects of high levels of ozone. For example, increasing ozone concentrations to unsafe levels can increase the risk of asthma attacks.

Due to the below average performance and potential health risks, Consumer Reports has advised against using ozone producing air purifiers. IQAir, the educational partner of the American Lung Association, has been a leading industry voice against ozone-producing air cleaning technology.

The only safe use of ozone generators is in unoccupied rooms, utilizing “shock treatment” commercial ozone generators that produce over 3000 mg of ozone per hour. Restoration contractors use these types of ozone generators to remove smoke odors after fire damage, musty smells after flooding, mold (including toxic molds), and the stench caused by decaying flesh which cannot be removed by bleach or anything else except for ozone.

However, there is a growing body of evidence that these machines can produce undesirable by-products.

In September 2007, the California Air Resources Board announced a ban of in-home ozone producing air purifiers. This law, which took effect in 2009, will require testing and certification of all types of air purifiers to verify that they do not generate excessive ozone. This ban does not affect shock treatment ozone generators for commercial and industrial use.

References:

  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Air_purifier
  • http://www.davidsuzuki.org/what-you-can-do/queen-of-green/faqs/cleaning/whats-in-air-fresheners
  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Air_freshener
  • http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/05/060524123900.htm
  • http://www.care2.com/greenliving/air-fresheners-easy-greening.html
  • http://www.air-purifier-power.com/ozone-air-purification-danger.html
  • http://www.environmentalhealth.ca/fall07AirFreshener.html

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Author: AllOntario Team

AllOntario.ca is a Problem-Solving Guide for Ontario residents and a marketplace for Ontario businesses. It’s all about living and doing business in Ontario. All in one site.