For our second health Say What? I wanted to do something that was widespread, and that I had NO clue about personally until I did some real research.
"A test of air freshener products recently conducted by the Natural Resources Defense Council found that 12 out of 14 popular air freshener products contained a chemical known to be harmful to the health of humans, called Phthalates."
Of course, many things can cause 'harmful effects'. Driving can cause harmful effects for goodness sakes, but unfortunately this commonly used device marketed by multiple companies and stores is 1) not tested for health problems or effects by the USDA and 2) effects not only humans, but pets as well. Therefore, it really is a problem that needs to be spread by word of mouth and will not be controlled by the govt.
Specifically air fresheners (any brand) from plug-in's to air-soles, when burned or sprayed puts out dangerous chemicals called Phthalates which not only cause multiple problems from epilepsy to incontinence in animals, but can cause serious effects such as reproductive problems and hormone disruption in humans.
Of course your chances of cancer or reproductive issues from a small exposure is small, but people who use these such as myself by a $8 starter kit and then buy the refills by default consequently have them burning almost 24/7.
When I brought this up with my physician and asked if it could be a partial cause to my constant headaches/migraines he said it very well could be contributing. That really got me going into checking into the details of Phthalates.
If you are looking for any more reasons to not use store bought air fresheners, they also can cause neurological issues from prenatal exposure, and also increase carcinogenesis (cancer) by damage to your liver.
Just google it if you have any remaining doubts.
But wait, don't go and throw away that expensive plug-in you have. There is an easy, affordable and HEALTHY alternative.
Most plug-in's look like this, and the refills obviously come in the little things you stick up into the plug-in. The 'scent' in the bottom is what is bad for you.
An easy solution is to dump out the 'scent' or liquid and then refill with an essential oil. I went to Target and found an essential oil that I really liked and was pure and undiluted. Mix 1 part water to 1 part oil, remove the wick from the refill and pour the essential oil solution you made into the refill. Replace the wick and you're good to go.
This continues to keep your home smelling wonderful, while not being a health hazard.