Thursday, October 04, 2007

Toxic Chemicals found in Air Fresheners

Your air freshener may contain toxic chemicals known to cause birth defects. NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council) recently tested 14 different air fresheners and found that 12 contained chemicals called phthalates, chemicals that can cause hormonal abnormalities, birth defects and reproductive problems. Even air fresheners marketed as "all-natural" or "unscented" contained the hazardous chemicals. In addition to phthalates, air fresheners may contain allergens, volatile organic compounds (VOCs) as well as cancer-causing chemicals such as benzene and formaldehyde.

The air fresheners NRDC tested included aerosol sprays, liquids that emit a continuous scent, and a solid. Of the 14 products tested by NRDC, there was wide variation in the level of phthalates contained. Three of the 14 products had very high levels-more than 100 parts per million (ppm)-including products that ranged from 360 ppm to 7,307 ppm. Only two products, Febreze Air Effects and Renuzit Subtle Effects, contained no detectable levels of phthalates. (NRDC only tested one sample of each product, and more thorough testing is necessary to confirm the levels detected.)

Phthalates are found in a wide array of consumer products, including cosmetics and fragrances, pharmaceuticals, vinyl children's toys, automobiles and paints. Phthalates are known to interfere with production of testosterone and have been associated with reproductive abnormalities. Pregnant women and children should avoid products that contain phthalates but because there are no labeling requirements it is virtually impossible for consumers to know which products may pose a risk.

For complete information about the test, go to the NRDC web site at: .

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