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What’s in That Car Air Freshener?

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Pthalates–The Natural Resources Defence Council (NRDC)—an international environmental organization—conducted a study called, “Clearing the Air:  Hidden Hazards of Air Fresheners” in which they found 86% of air fresheners tested contained dangerous phthalates.  Phthalates are used as plastic softeners, anti-foaming agents in aerosols, in vinyl found in children’s toys, automobiles, paints, pesticides, and in cosmetics and fragrances.  According to the NRDC research, “Most phthalates are well known to interfere with production of the male hormone testosterone, and have been associated with reproductive abnormalities.”

Acetone—is a blood-, heart-, gastrointestinal-, liver-, kidney-, skin-, respiratory-, brain- and nervous system toxin.  So, in other words, it can damage just about any part of your body and have a wide range of adverse effects.

Butane and IsobutaneYes, lighter fluid.  It a serious toxin to our brain and nervous system.

Liquified Petroleum Gas and Petroleum Distillate—It is fairly obvious why we wouldn’t want to add this to our air supply.  I’ve been half-jokingly telling my clients for years that air fresheners contain the byproducts of gasoline that the oil industry can’t put into vehicles.  It looks like it may not be far from the truth.

Propane—a cardiovascular and blood toxin; liver, kidney, respiratory, skin, and nervous system toxin known to be extremely dangerous and that’s why we operate propane barbecues outdoors yet we’re spraying this stuff into our indoor air.

Perfume–This single ingredient contains up to 400 different toxic ingredients, 95 percent of which are derived from petroleum products and are linked to a whole host of serious health conditions ranging from headaches and dizziness to depression and behavioral changes. Check out my article, “What’s Lurking in Febreze?” for more information.

Benzene—known to cause leukemia in humans.  Check out my article, “EXPOSED:  Is Your Child’s Classroom Toxic?” for more information on benzene and formaldehyde.

Formaldehyde–linked to cancers of the upper airways.

Keep reading to discover what you can do to make a difference…

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Michelle Schoffro Cook

Michelle Schoffro Cook, MSc, RNCP, ROHP, DNM, PhD is an international best-selling and 17-time book author and board-certified doctor of 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 her new book The Probiotic Promise. 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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2:53AM PDT on Jul 31, 2015

Hmmm I just shared this post with others because the quality of write-up is amazing.
personal loans

1:25AM PST on Feb 11, 2015

Indeed. But I knew there is a new car air freshener
that is solid wood type. Maybe it can be less harmful to human health.

3:18AM PST on Feb 9, 2015

Incredibly nice article, accurately what I was in search of. Thanks

4:06AM PST on Feb 2, 2015

Thanks for this thought-provoking article. I've never had any problems with them but will think twice and definitely check ingredients before buying more.

3:08AM PDT on Aug 1, 2014

Thank you

4:09AM PDT on Jun 17, 2014

Your contents is really forcing out your readers to give the nice service

9:57PM PST on Jan 6, 2014

I would never use any kind of commercial air freshener, they are really bad for the environment and also for people with allergies and asthma, like me. I use peppermint oil and water in a spray bottle for the house, and spray the car with it periodically.

9:46PM PST on Jan 6, 2014


10:36PM PDT on Oct 31, 2013


8:11PM PDT on Oct 14, 2013

Yes Cheryl M. Chemically sensitive people like us are truly the canaries in the coal mine and we want to warn and protect others from these horrible chemicals. I missed my cousin's viewing tonight because of those stinking TREES in my brothers' car. My heart started pounding within 2 minutes of getting into his car. I felt like I was having a severe asthma and panic attack. I got dropped back off to my car,attempting to follow him to viewing. By then I could hardly drive felt so neurologically impaired and confused and had to pull over,eventually drove home and missed the viewing(after having to pop a couple of prednisone,pills)which is not the greatest option.
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