The refreshingly clean smell of a lemon- or citrus-scented air freshener seems like a great way to “clean” the air in your home.
But what if it came in a can marked “embalming fluid?”
It wouldn’t seem so appealing any longer, would it?
Well, new research reveals you might as well be using embalming fluid to freshen your home.
“Air fresheners” produce cancer linked toxin
According to the results of the recent study, formaldehyde, the compound they put in embalming fluid—and a known cancer-causing agent—is typically formed when a chemical commonly used in citrus-scented air fresheners and candles (called limonene) is released in your home.
But formaldehyde is just one of the potentially dangerous chemicals people are unknowingly filling their home’s air with.
Take all those wonderfully fragrant candles, for example.
You know the ones I mean. They can make your home smell like fields of lavender, fresh laundry or even a warm batch of cookies!
Candles pollute your home’s air
But just like the citrus/limonene sprays, those scents can come with plenty of nasty chemicals. The EPA warns that candles can release benzene, lead and other pollutants that can cause health problems from breathing difficulties to cancer.
One of the big reasons it’s so easy to contaminate inside air is that most homes these days have been designed or “improved” to be super energy-efficient.
In other words, there are less cracks that let air in meaning that what’s inside stays inside. So while you may be paying less on your gas or electric bill, you could be paying for all that energy efficiency with your health.
4 easy tips to reduce inside air pollution
But don’t worry you can easily reduce all that indoor air pollution by following a few simple easy tips:
1. Get a green thumb:
House plants don’t just look good, they’re good for you too. Plants remove pollutants from the air through their leaves and roots. Bamboo palm, spider plant and Boston ferns are all especially good at removing formaldehyde from the air. (But if you have pets, especially cats, be sure to check and make sure any plants you bring inside aren’t toxic.)
2. “Go Green”:
Buy environmentally friendly, or “green” home improvement and cleaning products. These products are typically made without harsh chemicals and dangerous ingredients.
Want to try making your own safer cleaner? Believe it or not tea tree oil makes a terrific base for a bacteria-fighting household cleaner. Try this “recipe” to make your own spray cleaner.
|Terrific Tea Tree Oil Spray Cleaner|
|Tea tree oil makes a terrific base for a bacteria-beating household spray cleaner.
• Mix all ingredients in the spray bottle
• Use as you would any other household spray cleaner
3. Pay attention to your paint:
Volatile organic compounds, or VOCs, are toxins from paints and finishes that get released into the air for years after your walls are painted.
If you’re going to be painting, look for “low VOC” paints. Just about every manufacturer makes one these days.
4. Toss the toxic “fresheners”:
Stop with the air fresheners and burning candles already!
If you want to freshen things up inside your home, do it the old-fashioned way – by opening a window. Or put a saucepan on a low simmer and drop in a cinnamon stick… add in a lemon or apple slice if you want to layer in some more natural and safe smells.
But personally, my favorite way to make the house smell terrific is to whip up a batch of homemade cookies!
Jenny Thompson is the Director of the Health Sciences Institute and editor of the HSI e-Alert. Through HSI, she and her team uncover important health information and expose ridiculous health misinformation, most notably through the HSI e-Alert.
Visit www.hsionline.com to sign up for the free HSI e-Alert.
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