Air Fresheners leave our home smelling like a flower, or a sweet fruit that makes our rooms a bit more pleasant. But while these sprays remove unpleasant odors (mostly for a short amount of time), it could have harmful effects on our body.
McKay Jenkins, author of the book 'ContamiNation: My Quest to Survive a Toxic World' explained to Business Insider on why it might be a risk on our health. "All they are is replacing one smell with another smell." says Jenkins. Which is certainly true. Majority of the reason why we pick up the bottle of air freshener and spray it all over the room is to remove unwanted smells, but does it really make it go away? No. It is merely concealing the odor, and making our brain believe that it has disappeared, by overpowering our sense of smell with it's scent.
"The problem is that when you make a product that has a smell to it, whether it is an air freshener, whether it is a scented candle, whether it is cosmetics, they are all made with these chemicals that have to be bound chemically to the product itself." Jenkins explained to Business Insider.
According to Jenkins, the scents are binded to the same chemicals used in making plastic water bottles - called phthalates, and apparently that chemicals disrupts our hormones. "So if you spray air freshener in your house, or if you walk into a restroom or something and they have these motion sensor air fresheners, they're squirting all this stuff into the air all the time." added Jenkins. "So you are breathing all of these hormone disrupting chemicals into your lungs."
Therefore when we go inside a room that has been sprayed with the air fresheners, or we do it ourselves - we start to believe that we are breathing fresh air, "what you're breathing is basically plastic air." according to Jenkins.
"Fragrance is one of the many words that has caused people to distrust what they read on labels. The way that the regulations has evolved is you're allowed to pack all these different ingredients into the world 'fragrance. So one of the problems is that we don't know what is in a fragrance. So in other words it's a catch - all phrase that doesn't mean anything, because it means everything." Jenkins said, speaking to Business Insider.
He advises everyone who are searching for a bit of fresh air, to refrain from using the air freshener and just opening up a window. This way people can avoid any potential health risks caused by the chemicals in these sprays.