Is it safe to breathe the chemicals emitted by continuous air fresheners over long periods?
Answers from James T C Li, M.D., Ph.D.
Occasional exposure to air fresheners isn't likely to cause problems, as long as the products are used as directed. However, the chemicals in air fresheners may irritate your eyes, skin and throat. In addition, long-term use of air fresheners may contribute to indoor pollution — which can sometimes trigger asthma and other lung problems.
If you have asthma or other lung problems or you're concerned about the chemicals emitted by air fresheners, consider other options to freshen the air in your home. For example:
- Keep your home clean.
- Make sure your home is properly ventilated.
- Sprinkle baking soda in the bottom of your wastebaskets.
- Grind fresh lemon slices in the garbage disposal.
- Take out the trash promptly.
- Repair any leaks in the roof or basement.
If you choose to use continuous air fresheners, carefully follow the package directions.
Jan. 09, 2010
- Air fresheners. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. http://www.epa.gov/kidshometour/products/airf.htm. Accessed Sept 23, 2009.
- Zock J, et al. The use of household cleaning sprays and adult asthma: An international longitudinal study. American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine. 2007;176:735.
- Care for your air: A guide to indoor air quality. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. http://www.epa.gov/iaq/pubs/careforyourair.html. Accessed Sept 23, 2009.