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 www.ehnca.org), 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
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?”
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