Beware of Toxic Air Fresheners

by DailyHealthPost Editorial

Have you read the labels of your synthetic air fresheners?


The ingredients in air fresheners can be toxic to your health and can be responsible for causing irregular heartbeats, headaches, depression, earaches, and diarrhea in babies.

All of these symptoms can be traced back to the phthalates that are found in most common air fresheners.


What Are Phthalates?

Phthalates are chemicals that are added to your air freshener in order to sustain the fragrance in the product for a longer period of time.

Although you naturally want your air freshener to retain its pleasant scent for as long as possible, phthalates are considered highly toxic, particularly for children and babies.

Many air fresheners on the market contain phthalates even if they aren’t listed on the bottle. A recent study proved that some of these misleading brands were even marketed as “all-natural.”


If you’re worried about the presence of phthalates in your home, choose one of the following options that include few or no phthalates.

Highest levels of phthalates:

  • Walgreens Air Freshener Spray (removed from shelves)
  • Walgreens Scented Bouquet Air Fresheners (removed from shelves)
  • Walgreens Solid Air Fresheners (removed from shelves)
  • Ozium Glycolized Air Sanitizer

Medium levels of phthalates:

  • Air Wick Scented Oil
  • Febreze NOTICEables Scented Oil
  • Glade Air Infusions
  • Glade PlugIn Scented Oil
  • Oust Air Sanitizer Spray

Low levels or no phthalates detected:

  • Citrus Magic
  • Febreze Air Effects Air Refresher
  • Lysol Brand II Disinfectant
  • Oust Fan Liquid Refills
  • Renuzit Subtle Effects

Further Dangers

Phthalates have also been linked to an increase of diabetes and obesity in children who are exposed to the harmful chemical. Since phthalates are found in soft plastic, it is important to rid your home of other sources of phthalates in addition to synthetic air freshener.

The bad news is that phthalates are not the only dangerous chemical in your air freshener. For instance, most synthetic air fresheners are known to emit terpene. When this volatile compound encounters ozone, the combination of the two elements creates formaldehyde, which the International Agency for Research on Cancer classifies as a dangerous human carcinogen.


Another worrisome side effect is that air freshener can increase your risk of asthma by as much as 50%, according to a study by the European Community Respiratory Health Survey. Clearly, synthetic air fresheners simply pose too many threats to the health of your family, even if they don’t contain phthalates.

Healthier Alternatives

If you’re worried about your home smelling bad once you discontinue your use of synthetic air fresheners, incorporate the following strategies in order to create naturally fresh air within your home:

  • Open your windows every day. Even in the winter, an open window can help to get the air in your home circulating.
  • Use natural potpourri. Natural, organic potpourri can be left in a bowl or placed in sachets throughout your home in order to infuse your home with a pleasant, natural aroma.
  • Leave boxes of baking soda open in the corners of different rooms. Baking soda can help minimize humidity and eradicate many unpleasant odors.
  • Try one of these DIY air fresheners.

What are your recommendations for natural air freshening solutions? We’re looking forward to getting your advice in the comments!