Toxic chemicals found in common scented laundry products, air fresheners
July 24, 2008
A University of Washington study of top-selling laundry products and air fresheners found the products emitted dozens of different chemicals. All six products tested gave off at least one chemical regulated as toxic or hazardous under federal laws, but none of those chemicals was listed on the product labels.
"I first got interested in this topic because people were telling me that the air fresheners in public restrooms and the scent from laundry products vented outdoors were making them sick," said Anne Steinemann, a UW professor of civil and environmental engineering and of public affairs. "And I wanted to know, 'What's in these products that is causing these effects?'"
She analyzed the products to discover the chemicals' identity.
"I was surprised by both the number and the potential toxicity of the chemicals that were found," Steinemann said. Chemicals included acetone, the active ingredient in paint thinner and nail-polish remover; limonene, a molecule with a citrus scent; and acetaldehyde, chloromethane and 1,4-dioxane.
"Nearly 100 volatile organic compounds were emitted from these six products, and none were listed on any product label. Plus, five of the six products emitted one or more carcinogenic 'hazardous air pollutants,' which are considered by the Environmental Protection Agency to have no safe exposure level," Steinemann said.
Her study was published online today by the journal Environmental Impact Assessment Review. Steinemann chose not to disclose the brand names of the six products she tested. In a larger study of 25 cleaners, personal care products, air fresheners and laundry products, now submitted for publication, she found that many other brands contained similar chemicals.
Because manufacturers of consumer products are not required to disclose the ingredients, Steinemann analyzed the products to discover their contents. She studied three common air fresheners (a solid deodorizer disk, a liquid spray and a plug-in oil) and three laundry products (a dryer sheet, fabric softener and a detergent), selecting a top seller in each category. She bought household items at a grocery store and asked companies for samples of industrial products.
In the laboratory, each product was placed in an isolated space at room temperature and the surrounding air was analyzed for volatile organic compounds, small molecules that evaporate from the product's surface into the air.
Results showed 58 different volatile organic compounds above a concentration of 300 micrograms per cubic meter, many of which were present in more than one of the six products. For instance, a plug-in air freshener contained more than 20 different volatile organic compounds. Of these, seven are regulated as toxic or hazardous under federal laws. The product label lists no ingredients, and information on the Material Safety Data Sheet, required for workplace handling of chemicals, lists the contents as "mixture of perfume oils."
This study does not address links between exposure to chemicals and health effects. However, two national surveys published by Steinemann and a colleague in 2004 and 2005 found that about 20 percent of the population reported adverse health effects from air fresheners, and about 10 percent complained of adverse effects from laundry products vented to the outdoors. Among asthmatics such complaints were roughly twice as common.
Manufacturers are not required to list the ingredients used in laundry products and air fresheners. Personal-care products and cleaners often contain similar fragrance chemicals, Steinemann said. And although cosmetics are required by the Food and Drug Administration to list ingredients, no law requires products of any kind to list chemicals used in fragrances.
"Fragrance chemicals are of particular interest because of the potential for involuntary exposure, or second-hand scents," Steinemann said.
"Be careful if you buy products with fragrance, because you really don't know what's in them," she added. "I'd like to see better labeling. In the meantime, I'd recommend that instead of air fresheners people use ventilation, and with laundry products, choose fragrance-free versions."
The European Union recently enacted legislation requiring products to list 26 fragrance chemicals when they are present above a certain concentration in cosmetic products and detergents. No similar laws exist in the United States.
"I hope this study will raise public awareness, and reduce exposures to potentially hazardous chemicals," said Steinemann.
University of Washington
Homemade Cleaners: Quick-and-Easy, Toxin-Free Recipes to Replace Your Kitchen Cleaner, Bathroom Disinfectant, Laundry Detergent, Bleach, Bug Killer, Air Freshener, and moreâ€¦|
by Dionna Ford (Author), Mandy O'Brien (Author)
SIMPLE STEPS TO A NATURALLY CLEAN HOME
Toxic chemicals are found in almost all commercial cleanersÂ—the very products you buy to make your home hygenic and healthy. Homemade Cleaners offers a better solution. Its tips, tricks and formulas guarantee to make your home sparkling and germ-free.
Homemade Cleaners features over 150 recipes that are:
â€˘ Simple and Affordable
â€˘ Highly Effective
â€˘ Environmentally Sound
â€˘ Kid and Baby Friendly
Using ingredients like vinegar, baking soda, and even vodka, the authors tackle the nitty-gritty of everything from countertop cleaners to air-purifying plants so you avoid using commercial products that can cause side effects including skin irritation, asthma and central nervous system...
Natural Homemade Air Fresheners :The Ultimate Guide|
by Encore Publishing
The Ultimate Homemade Air Freshener Guide
Using natural ingredients to freshen the air in your home is a great way to absorb odors and create a nicely scented environment for your family. Natural homemade air fresheners are also non-toxic, and safe for all family members and pets. We have collected the most refreshing aromas recipes from around the world. Enjoy!
Enjoy Refreshing Natural Air Fresheners Today! Scroll Up & Grab Your Copy NOW!
Who Knew? Odor-Eliminating Miracles: Get Rid of Bad Smells from Pets, Food, Smoke, and More, and Make Your Own Air Fresheners (Who Knew Tips)|
by Castle Point Publishing
You don't have to live with bad odors from dog urine, stinky diapers, or even a musty basement. No matter what's causing that "What smells bad?" moment in your home, it's about to be gone! â€śWho Knew? Odor-Eliminating Miraclesâ€ť reveals the secrets to make bad smells a thing of the past using easy, homemade air fresheners and the best all-natural cleaning tips. Find out how to make your own inexpensive refills for Glade plug-ins and other air fresheners, get rid of carpet odors with a cotton ball and vanilla extract, make car air fresheners for pennies, use a simple dryer sheet to help cut down on pet odors, and much more!
This indispensible book of tips from the authors of "Who Knew? 10,001 Easy Solutions to Everyday Problems" will help you freshen every room of your home,...
Air Crashes and Miracle Landings: 60 Narratives: (How, When ... and Most Importantly Why)|
by Christopher Bartlett (Author)
Major update September 2012 with proofreader specializing in aviation.
The Colgan Air disaster was added and the Air France AF447 crash rewritten with a unique countdown timeline. These two accidents show how pilots, having become dependent on automation, may may not be able to cope with certain situations unless trained in a new way.
As before, includes Tenerife (the worst-ever multi-aircraft disaster), Japan Airlines JL123 (the worst single-aircraft disaster), the de Havilland Comet (the first jetliner), DC-10, supersonic Concorde, Kegworth air disaster (where pilots mistakenly shut down the good engine), PichĂ©'s 80-mile glide to a safe landing on an island in the Atlantic after his fuel ran out, a mid-air collision where a father subsequently assassinated the air...
Kitchen Granny - Crochet Outfit for 5 1/2" Air Freshener Doll (Fibre Crafts FMC471)|
by Vicky L. Tignanelli (Author)
Exclusive Design. Granny's crocheted dress is chock-full of goodies. Fits 5.5"-inch (14CM) Granny Air Freshener Doll. Instructions to make dress, shawl, hat and serving tray.
How to Grow Fresh Air: 50 House Plants that Purify Your Home or Office|
by B. C. Wolverton (Author)
How pure is the air you breathe? Plants are the lungs of the earth: they produce the oxygen that makes life possible, add precious moisture, and filter toxins. Houseplants can perform these essential functions in your home or office with the same efficiency as a rainforest in our biosphere. In research designed to create a breathable environment for a NASA lunar habitat, noted scientist Dr. B.C. Wolverton discovered that houseplants are the best filters of common pollutants such as ammonia, formaldehyde, and benzene. Hundreds of these poisonous chemicals can be released by furniture, carpets, and building material, and then trapped by closed ventilation systems, leading to the host of respiratory and allergic reactions now called Sick Building Syndrome. In this full-color,...
Annie's Crochet Winter Scent-sations Air Freshener Covers (Annie's Attic, 87f73)|
by Annie Potter (Author)
Annie's Crochet Winter Scent-sations Air Freshner Covers.
Air fresheners: the onus to meet EPA diesel engine emission standards is on equipment manufacturers.(ENVIRONMENTAL COMPLIANCE REPORT)(Environmental Protection Agency): An article from: Recycling Today|
by Sam Joslin (Author)
This digital document is an article from Recycling Today, published by Thomson Gale on September 1, 2006. The length of the article is 1288 words. The page length shown above is based on a typical 300-word page. The article is delivered in HTML format and is available in your Amazon.com Digital Locker immediately after purchase. You can view it with any web browser.
Title: Air fresheners: the onus to meet EPA diesel engine emission standards is on equipment manufacturers.(ENVIRONMENTAL COMPLIANCE REPORT)(Environmental Protection Agency)
Author: Sam Joslin
Publication: Recycling Today (Magazine/Journal)
Date: September 1, 2006
Publisher: Thomson Gale
Volume: 44 Issue: 9 Page: 108(4)
Distributed by Thomson...
Air Freshener Manufacturing in the US - Industry Market Research Report|
by IBISWorld (Author)
The Organically Clean Home: 150 Everyday Organic Cleaning Products You Can Make Yourself--The Natural, Chemical-Free Way|
by Becky Rapinchuk (Author)
Cleaning products that save money--and the planet!Forget about chemical cleaners and pricey "green" products--all you need are a few simple kitchen staples to make your whole house sparkle! The Organically Clean Home features 150 easy-to-make recipes for cleaning products filled with all-natural ingredients you can trust (and actually pronounce!). From dishwasher detergent to antibacterial wipes, America's favorite cleaning blogger Becky Rapinchuk guides you through the steps needed to make these everyday necessities--without spending a fortune.Complete with simple instructions for packaging and storing your homemade cleaners, you'll enjoy turning each room into a beautiful and toxic-free space with fresh-scented products like:Lemon and clove hardwood floor cleanerNo-bleach laundry...