Is Febreze Dangerous?

Is febreze dangerous?

Is Febreze Dangerous?

There are varieties of fragrance choices available in air fresheners of the current time.

Some smell like roses and some give you smell of fresh breezy morning. But we may not be aware of the fact that these sweet smells may harm our health.

A lot of research has been done in the past few years to analyze the effect of some common chemicals found in our homes.

And it has been found that the chemicals found in most of the air fresheners may give you serious health hazards!

Here we are going to discuss Febreze Air Freshener which is Proctor & Gamble product, and answer the question that’s on your mind – is Febreze toxic?

EWG Finds Carcinogen in Febreze

In 2009 the Environmental Working Group (EWG) tested Febreze to find out whether it is safe for being supplied in schools for cleaning.

The results were quite surprising as it was revealed that it contains 89 different air contaminants.

Out of these one chemical is a carcinogen, making the answer to “is Febreze toxic?” an unfortunate “yes.”

To explain why, you may need to learn more about carcinogens.

According to the National Human Genome Research Institute, a carcinogen is any substance, chemical, or even organism that’s capable of causing cancer. In some cases, carcinogens occur in the natural environment.

But many are human-made, such as the exhaust fumes produced by vehicles and, in Febreze’s case, one of the chemicals used in its air freshener.

Though each carcinogen is different, they tend to act in the same way – creating mutations by negatively interacting with the DNA stored in your body’s cells.

Even more worryingly, Febreze stays tight-lipped about the sheer number of chemicals in its product. It only discloses three of the chemicals it uses to the public.

But as you can see from the above EWG test, a bottle of Febreze contains 89 chemicals, meaning there are 86 that the company doesn’t tell its customers about.

In fact, the chemicals released by this air freshener are third highest in numbers by any product.

But if you go by the label of the air freshener it only contains water, odor eliminator, fragrance, non-flammable natural propellant, and quality control ingredients.

Can they hide anything more?

Given that Febreze is so lax when disclosing its chemical usage, you’re naturally wondering about the 86 chemicals it doesn’t disclose.

According to the EWG study, the following harmful chemicals are in the air freshener, thus making the “yes” answer to the “is Febreze toxic?” definitive.

Following are the few chemicals found in the studies of EWG:

  • Acetaldehyde: 

It one of the compounds present in California's Prop 65 list which can cause cancer and problems related to the reproductive system. 

The chemical enters your body through the air, which using Febreze makes even easier given that you’re spraying the air freshener directly into the air that you breathe in your home.

However, the way acetaldehyde affects your body varies depending on several factors, including the level of the chemical that’s in the air and the length of exposure time.

Short periods of exposure can cause pain in your heart and lungs, as well as causing minor damage to your blood vessels.

But longer-term exposure to the chemical, as may happen if you use Febreze daily, can cause cancer, in addition to memory impairment, and issues with brain activity.

  • Ethyl Acetate: 

It is a chemical that can cause harm to your brain and nervous system.

Like acetaldehyde, it gets into your body when breathed in, though it can also seep through your skin if you’re exposed to a liquified variant of the chemical.

Beyond its impact on your brain and nervous system, ethyl acetate also causes liver and kidney problems if you’re exposed to it for extended periods.

Given that both organs regulate toxin levels in your body, allowing a chemical to negatively impact them is a sure way to experience long-term health issues.

Ethyl acetate is also problematic in the short term. It causes irritation of the skin, throat, nose, and eyes, and can even lead to light-headedness that causes you to pass out.

  • BHT:

Butylated Hydroxytoluene (BHT), is a human-made chemical that you’ll often find being used as a food preservative.

In Febreze, it’s likely the chemical serves similar preservative properties, perhaps to ensure your air freshener maintains its smell over many months.

Sadly, it’s another dangerous chemical, as studies demonstrate that it can cause skin irritation, allergies (both of the eyes and skin), and even hormone disruption.

Worse of all, some studies suggest that the chemical has carcinogenic effects.

One study, published in the International Journal of Toxicology, says the chemical is something of a mixed bag when it comes to cancer.

While it can actively be anticarcinogenic for some of your body’s organs, it’s also been shown to strengthen existing tumor growth in other organs.

  • Propylene glycol: 

This chemical is often used in flavorings and perfumes, with the latter usage explaining its presence in Febreze.

Thankfully, propylene glycol is an irritant, rather than a carcinogen, with repeated exposure being capable of causing allergies to the skin and eyes.

The chemical is also known to cause nausea and vomiting, both through prolonged exposure and in people who are allergic to it.

Headaches and dizziness can also result from exposure, meaning it may be the reason behind any lightheadedness you feel when using Febreze.

  • 1,3-dichloro-2-propanol:

As per the California Environmental Protection Agency, this chemical can cause cancer in animals, which suggests a carcinogenic effect that may pass over to humans.

However, that effect isn’t confirmed yet, making 1,3-Dichloro-2-Propanol a possible carcinogen, rather than a definite one.

There are other worries, too.

According to the International Labor Organization, this chemical can be fatal if inhaled in large doses.

Thankfully, that won’t happen when using Febreze as the dose isn’t anywhere near large enough.

But other possible side effects, such as damage to your liver and kidneys, as well as issues with your respiratory system, can result from prolonged or repeated exposure to this chemical.

Reasons to use Natural Air Fresheners:

So, is Febreze toxic?

Sadly, the answer appears to be “yes,” and worse yet, the company behind the air freshener seems to be trying to cover up (or at least not publicly acknowledge) the many chemicals used to make the product.

This makes for distressing reading to anybody who uses Febreze in their home.

The good news is that there are solutions that allow you to freshen up your home, combat odors, and avoid the toxicity of Febreze and similar human-made air fresheners. Those solutions require you to look toward nature.

For instance, opening your windows is a quick and easy way to get fresh air circulating through your home without resorting to unnatural air fresheners.

The problem is that opening windows isn’t always an option. You may not want to do so if it’s cold outside, plus those who live in busy cities may find that they introduce more pollutants into their home by opening windows when there’s a lot of traffic outside.

If opening some windows isn’t an option, try mixing baking soda and vinegar with a natural essential oil. This gives you a solution that you can spray around your home (in addition to wiping down surfaces) that is more natural and often smells better than Febreze.

Why You Should Avoid Using Febreze in Your Home:

  1. Any air freshener, like Febreze, cannot remove the odor molecules in your home. Rather it covers the odor molecules, masking their smell instead of getting rid of the molecules altogether. So, when you inhale, you not only inhale the odor molecules but the chemicals found in the air freshener are going into your body as well.
  2. It has been reported that Febreze contains a chemical that can cause cancer (acetaldehyde), as well as several others that have negative health ramifications ranging from damaging your kidneys and liver to sparking skin and eye irritation.
  3. Febreze also contains such chemicals that can cause hormone disruption and developmental problems.
  4. Febreze also contains neurotoxic chemicals.
  5. Chemicals found in Febreze can cause allergies to the skin, eyes, and lungs. 
  6. The most dangerous fact is Febreze does not give a clear idea about the ingredients used in it.

The final point particularly highlights the concerns of using Febreze at home.

While it’s unforgivable for any air freshener to contain a carcinogen, the fact that the manufacturers seem so reluctant to provide details suggests a lack of transparency.

It’s telling that an external organization had to carry out a study to discover what’s in Febreze and that the results were that there are many more chemicals than Proctor and Gamble suggests on its bottles.


Bottom Line:

Is Febreze toxic?

Though it’s not immediately toxic in the sense that it will immediately cause you to keel over upon inhaling it, Febreze is toxic over the long term. It contains a confirmed carcinogen, a potential carcinogen, and several other chemicals that can damage your brain, kidneys, and liver.

So, let’s be clear about one thing - no air freshener can clean the air or remove the odor. It just covers the odor molecules, meaning we’re still breathing in whatever the air contains, alongside any chemicals found in the air freshener.

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