The Dangers of Febreze
Febreze is classified as an air freshener, created by Proctor & Gamble. It reports to work by “trapping” odor molecules in a donut-shaped chemical.
The first thing that is really important to understand: the product does not remove odor molecules and it doesn’t clean the item it comes into contact with.
The odor molecules are still there. Your nose just can’t perceive them because you smell the chemical product instead.
For more related information on how EZ Breathe can help with smells and odors.
That alone should be your first warning. We know inhalation of any chemicals is dangerous, and several of its ingredients listed below are known to irritate the lungs… but this is a chemical whose entire purpose is to be inhaled!
The Natural Resources Defense Council studied the effects of air fresheners, discovering that they currently undergo no safety testing. The results were disturbing, because they revealed high levels of phthalates, which are known to be especially harmful to children. These chemicals were even present in sprays which were claimed to be “All-Natural” and “unscented”. Phthalates were not disclosed in the list of ingredients for any of the products. “Phthalates are hormone-disrupting chemicals that can be particularly dangerous for young children and unborn babies. Exposure to phthalates can affect testosterone levels and lead to reproductive abnormalities, including abnormal genitalia and reduced sperm production. The State of California notes that five types of phthalates — including one that we found in air freshener products — are ‘known to cause birth defects or reproductive harm.’” — Natural Resources Defense Council
1,4- Dichlorobenzene is a chemical that is found in the blood of 96% of Americans. It has been linked to lung damage, is a known carcinogen, and it is an E.P.A. registered pesticide. Studies found it to increase rates of asthma. It can be found in the majority of air fresheners, toilet deodorizers, and mothballs. It works by attacking the receptors in the nose, and thus eliminating the sense of smell. This is how the new generation of air fresheners actually “freshen”. This chemical was introduced into the American market with the Febreze product from Proctor & Gamble. The new generation of air fresheners that were inspired by the success of Febreze are literally using chemical warfare to destroy their customers’ sense of smell. That lack of smell is where the illusion of freshness comes from. The user only smells these air fresheners for about a minute after they have been sprayed, and then the nose cannot smell most fragrances anymore. This is not a normal adjustment to odors, anymore than a loss of one of the other four senses. The process is the equivalent of using a chemical blinding agent to escape the unpleasantness of a bright light; when that chemical is known to be both poisonous and carcinogenic. By design, the freshening chemical causes damage to the mucous membrane, which is claimed to be temporary. However, no long-term studies have ever been done to test the effects of chronic exposure. It is important to remember that anything inhaled is immediately absorbed into the blood through the lungs relatively unchanged.
Unfortunately there is not much data being shared on Febreze and their many products, but the Environmental Working Group (EWG) did conduct a test for the ingredients of one of their products, Febreze Air Effects.
Shockingly, P&G only disclosed THREE ingredients in this product, but the EWG…they found 87 chemicals in total!
Now this is just one Febreze product, but the fact that only 3 ingredients were disclosed and that so many undisclosed ingredients are dangerous, it’s safe to assume that their other air fresheners are just as dangerous.
Below you’ll find a list of just some of the 87 chemicals found by the EWG in Febreze Air Effects, listed in order of their toxicity to humans:
- BHT – Known as a neurotoxin, endocrine disruptor, immunotoxicity, non-reproductive organ system toxicity, skin eye and lung irritator
- Acetaldehyde – Known to cause cancer, toxic to reproduction and development, immunotoxin, non-reproductive organ system toxin, skin, eye and lung irritator
- “Fragrance” – One of the three ingredients actually disclosed, it’s a neurotoxin, immunotoxin and allergen
- Propylene Glycol – Causes cancer, allergies, toxic to immune system, accumulates in the system, non-reproductive organ system toxin, is classified with “enhanced skin absorption” and irritates the skin, eye and lung
- 1,3-Dichloro-2-propanol – Carcinogenic (causes cancer)
- Limonene – Allergen, immunotoxin and skin, eyes and lung irritator
- Methyl pyrrolidone – Toxin to reproduction and development, allergen and immunotoxin, non-reproductive organ system toxin and skin, eyes and lung irritator
- Alcohol denatured – Also disclosed in the ingredients of Febreze, it’s linked to cancer, developmental/reproductive toxicity, organ system toxicity and skin, eyes and lung irritator
- Butylphenyl methylpropion al – allergen, immunotoxin and and skin, eyes and lung irritator
- Ethyl acetate – linked to developmental/reproductive toxicity, neurotoxicity, organic system toxicity and and skin, eyes and lung irritator
- Geraniol – Linked to allergies, immunotoxicity, organi system toxicity and and skin, eyes and lung irritation
- Linalool – allergen, immunotoxin, and and skin, eyes and lung irritator
- Benzaldehyde – neurotoxin, and skin, eyes and lung irritator
- Diethylene glycol monoethyl ether – non-reproductive organ system toxicity
- Ethylhezanol – developmental and reproductive toxin and skin, eyes and lung irritator
- Hexyl cinnamal – allergen, immunotoxin and skin, eyes and lung irritator
- And way too many more…
You can find the EWG’s full report on the dangers of Febreze and other common cleaners here.
Removing Odors Naturally
Again, it’s important to understand that these types of products are not only dangerous to our health, but they aren’t actually cleaning the air or eliminating odor. They are just masking it…the bacteria and molecules are still hanging around, maybe even making you sick themselves.
If you really want to remove odors naturally there are two recommendations I have:
- Types of Houseplants That Clean the Air – In this article I’ll point out the best houseplants to use to freshen indoor air, as well as just how effective they really are.
- Removing Odor Naturally – Here I’ll show you how you can actually remove odors for all kinds of surfaces…safely, easily and naturally.
- ACTUALLY Purify the Air: Febreze doesn’t purify, but only masks odors. But essential oils can actually purify the air and eliminates odor.
Source: The Dangers of Febreze.
We are a 2nd generation family owned and operated business that has been working in homes with basements and crawl spaces for over 35 years. We have been waterproofing and sealing about 500 foundations a month during that time as the largest Waterproofing contractor in the Midwest with 15 locations servicing 8 states.
20 years ago we would seal a foundation and recommend a standard dehumidifier to address the additional water vapor (humidity in the air) inherently found in below grade environments, such as basements and crawlspaces. Back then, dehumidifiers were the industry standard to help with this problem. However, many of our customers were looking to us as the “foundation expert”, asking…
“What else do you have? I really am not getting results with this messy, expensive dehumidifier. My foundation is dry, walls are dry, floor is dry, so why does it still smell and feel like a basement?”
We needed to find something better. Our company’s core values include offering world class customer service to every customer, every time. So, we challenged our Research and Development department to find a real solution for our customers to combat not only the moisture, but also the odors, pollutants and unhealthy environment our customers were concerned about. We found, tested and installed a ventilation product for a period of three years. We private labeled that product as the EZ Breathe Ventilation System. The feedback in those first three years from our customers, as well as our installation crews, did not live up to the standard of quality to be included in our waterproofing process that offered a life time warranty. Once again, we needed something better.
We valued not only the results, but what we were learning from our customers. So, we went back to the drawing board, took matters into our own hands and made quality improvements to that first generation ventilation unit.
Our own EZ Breathe Ventilation System was born…reengineered, redesigned and much improved! We quickly learned that our crews were thrilled with the quality improvements, ease of operation and installation, but more importantly, our waterproofing customers loved the new, improved EZ Breathe unit as well.
Their feedback told us the air in their basements and crawlspaces felt better, but their entire home was benefiting from their EZ Breathe as well. We received countless letters thanking us because their whole house felt different, less odors, fresher air upstairs too, family members were feeling better, needing less allergy medicine, husbands were no longer snoring, children were no longer coughing as much, the home and it’s family were living healthier lives!
It was time for us to move beyond simply offering this innovative technology to just our waterproofing customers. Our passion and commitment to helping people improve their indoor air environments is what drove us to incorporate EZ Breathe Ventilation Systems as an independent company in 2003. We strongly believe that homeowners everywhere deserve a healthy indoor air quality.
We have spent the last 15 years dedicated to learning about the relationship between our home and our health; indoor air quality, the home as a system, building science and how it relates to indoor air quality as well as the challenges our modern day practices pose to the quality of air we breathe in our homes.