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Exposed: What’s Lurking in Febreze?

Exposed: What’s Lurking in Febreze?

Forget what the TV commercials tell you:  Febreze doesn’t contain some miracle substance that envelopes bacteria in mid-air, leaving your house sanitized, healthy, fresh and clean-smelling.  What it does contain may surprise you, however.  Proctor and Gamble discloses only three ingredients on their Febreze-brand products yet the Environmental Working Group (EWG)—an American-based non-profit that advocates for health protection—found a whopping 87 chemicals in Febreze Air Effects, some of which include:

BHT—a known neurotoxin (substance that is toxic to the brain and nervous system), a hormone disruptor, immune system toxin, and irritant to the skin, eyes, and lungs.

Acetaldehyde—a known carcinogen (causes cancer) that has reproductive and development effects (yes, that means it can damage a fetus), immune system toxin, and irritant to the skin, eyes, and lungs.

Fragrance—This is one of the three disclosed ingredients.  However, on its own, it can contain up to 400 ingredients, most of which are petrochemicals. Clinical observation by medical doctors has found that exposure to fragrances can damage the central nervous system and cause depression, hyperactivity, irritability, inability to cope, behavioral damages, headaches, dizziness, rashes, hyper-pigmentation, vomiting, coughing, and skin irritation. A shocking 95% of the chemicals used as “fragrance” come from petroleum! According to the research of Julia Kendall (available at, the most common chemicals in fragrances are ethanol, benzaldehyde, benzyl acetate, a-pinene, acetone, benzyl alcohol, ethyl acetate, linalook, a-terpinene, methylene chloride, and a-terpineol.  You’ll see that numerous of these ingredients were found in Febreze.  Check out my article Detox Your Cosmetics for more information about fragrances.

Propylene Glycol—also a known carcinogen, propylene glycol is toxic to the immune system, is linked to allergies, accumulates in the body and irritates the skin, eyes, and lungs

1,3-Dichloro-2-propanolcauses cancer

Limonene—allergen, immune system toxin and skin, lungs, and eye irritant

Methyl pyrrolidone—Reproductive system toxin linked to birth defects, allergies, immune system toxicity, and skin, eyes, and lung irritation

Alcohol, denatured—Also one of the three disclosed ingredients in Febreze. In this form it is linked to cancer, birth defects, organ system toxicity, and skin, eyes, and lung irritation

Butylphenyl methylpropional—allergen, irritant, and immune system toxin

Ethyl acetate—another brain and nervous system toxin (neurotoxin) which is also linked to developmental and reproductive toxicity

Benzaldehyde—also a neurotoxin and skin, lung, and eye irritator

Of course, the list goes on.  For the full EWG report on Febreze, click here.  The tagline for Febreze is “We’re out to make the world breathe happy.”  When I inhale Febreze or read the ingredient list and their toxic effects, I’m not breathing happy and I doubt you are either.

Obviously, the biggest issue is that these ingredients really shouldn’t be allowed in products that will be sprayed into the air, inhaled, or absorbed directly into the bloodstream through skin contact.  But there are other issues like duping the public into thinking that they are somehow cleaning the air and eliminating odors.  They simply mask them.

As for the toxic effects, not to worry, Proctor and Gamble also offers a wide selection of drugs that can address many of the symptoms and conditions linked to Febreze ingredients.  Can you say “conflict of interest” as fast as you can send a toxic whiff of Febreze into the air?

Next week, I’ll discuss “EXPOSED:  More Serious Toxins Found in Air Fresheners” and “EXPOSED:  Is Your Child’s Classroom Toxic?”

Sources:  Environmental Working Group Report and The Dangers of Febreze.

Subscribe to my free e-newsletter World’s Healthiest News to receive monthly health news, tips, recipes and more. Follow me on Twitter @mschoffrocook and Facebook.  Copyright Michelle Schoffro Cook, PhD.


Related—EXPOSED:  The Shocking Truth about Air Fresheners

Detox Your Cosmetics

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Michelle Schoffro Cook

Michelle Schoffro Cook, MSc, RNCP, ROHP, DNM, PhD is an international best-selling and 15-time book author and doctor of traditional natural medicine, whose works include: 60 Seconds to Slim, Weekend Wonder Detox, Healing Recipes, The Vitality Diet, Allergy-Proof, Arthritis-Proof, Total Body Detox, The Life Force Diet, The Ultimate pH Solution, The 4-Week Ultimate Body Detox Plan, and The Phytozyme Cure. Subscribe to her free e-magazine World's Healthiest News at to receive monthly health news, tips, recipes and more. Follow her on Twitter @mschoffrocook and Facebook.


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1:34AM PDT on Mar 19, 2014

thank you :)

6:00PM PST on Feb 23, 2014

My EX sprays my 5 children down with this every visit but no one will help me get it stopped!!!

12:45AM PST on Feb 18, 2014

thanx for sharing

12:38AM PST on Feb 10, 2014

good information thnku so much

10:03PM PST on Feb 4, 2014

thnx for sharing this grat info

1:23AM PDT on Aug 22, 2013

COLLEEN M: I really don't know how much more information you would need or want; but if you really feel that you really need more information prior to passing along the information contained in the original post: GOOGLE febreze ingredients. Don and I CAN! :-))

10:40AM PDT on Aug 21, 2013

It's an abomination. It's everywhere and in everything. People wonder why they feel sick all of the don't have to look any further than the bathroom or the laundry room to find the scented culprits.

10:30AM PDT on Aug 21, 2013

Do you have more information? The EWG doesn't have any of the ingredients listed to go through. I would like to share this with people but want more scientific information ie. from a well known journal or research paper.

5:52AM PDT on Aug 19, 2013


I don't remember where I got the idea from, but we've been using "white vinegar" in our wash as a fabric softener for several years now. Not only does it leave our clothes "soft" and "smelling great" with NO vinegar smell either; but it gets rid of all of the soap residue that has built up in our clothes over the years and it keeps the washer clean too. We began using "baking soda" as a laundry cleaning booster at about the same time.

I've been drinking about 1/3 a cup of "well diluted" APPLE CIDER vinegar each day for about a year now. In addition to helping with my "acid reflux", I've been slowing weening myself off of my "acid reflux" RX. Don and I CAN! :-))

5:35AM PDT on Aug 19, 2013

Lordy, lordy, when will we ever learn??? Use to use it religiously and stopped the same time that we discontinued using "air fresheners".

CHECK OUT CARE2'S: What's in Car Air Freshener?

Don and I CAN! :-))

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