Toxic chemicals found in scented products
By SANDI DOUGHTON / Seattle Times
The fumes that waft from top-selling air fresheners and laundry products contain dozens of chemicals, including several classified as toxic or hazardous, says a University of Washington study published today. None of the chemicals was listed on product labels, nor does the federal government require companies to disclose ingredients in fragrances, said study author Anne Steinemann.
...Steinemann's study focused on six widely used products: dryer sheets, fabric softener, laundry detergent, a liquid spray air freshener, a plug-in air freshener, and a solid disc deodorizer used in commercial-airplane toilets.
A contract laboratory sealed each product inside a container, then used two types of instruments to identify chemicals emitted into the air... Among them are three chemicals the Environmental Protection Agency considers "hazardous air pollutants" with no safe exposure levels: acetaldehyde and 1,4-dioxane, both likely human carcinogens; and methyl chloride, which has been linked to liver, kidney and nervous-system damage in animals.
...Children are more sensitive to chemical exposure than adults, said Steve Gilbert, founder of Toxipedia.org, a clearinghouse on toxic chemicals. And people are usually exposed to a stew of substances, which may interact in unknown ways. "At the very minimum, we should have a right to know what is in these products," said Gilbert, a Seattle toxicologist who was not involved in the study.
Manufacturers are not required to list the ingredients used in air fresheners, laundry products or most other consumer products, Steinemann said in her study, published in the journal Environmental Impact Assessment Review.
Steinemann wouldn't name the specific products tested, partly out of fear of industry lawsuits. She also said it would be unfair to single out specific companies at this point. A larger analysis, which looked at 25 different products, found many other brands contain similar chemicals. The second study is under review and will be published next year.
...Some products marketed as "unscented" or "fragrance-free" actually contain the same chemicals as scented products -- with the addition of a "masking fragrance" that cancels out the smell. And many products labeled "natural" or "organic" also contain some of the same chemicals.
I hope you've read through this or will at least click on the link to the video clip and be educated that way. If you had a clue how these chemicals affect the quality of my life - and that of more people in the US than are currently diagnosed with diabetes - you would throw out your scented products today and never buy another one ever again.