Global Problem: Air Fresheners
The market for air fresheners is rising rapidly throughout the globe owing to the preference of aromatherapy, as well as consumer desire to make their homes have a fragrant smell. However, what many people do not understand is that air fresheners are made from risky chemicals, which manufacturers do not reveal to customers when they are listing the ingredients. Some of the chemicals that constitute air fresheners are propellants, petroleum distillates, dichlorobenzene, phthalates, formaldehydes, and aerosols. Numerous studies have revealed that the chemicals utilized to make fragrance have become risk to environment as well as human health.
The chemicals that constitute air fresheners have serious implications to the environment. Aerosol propellants are hazardous to the earth’s ozone layer. They contain hydrocarbons and compressed gases that cause a rise in temperature in the atmosphere. Consequently, when the atmosphere becomes hot, it results in global warming. Every time an individual press the button to spray the house, he/she adds carbon into the air, and the consequence would be felt globally after some time. Environmental pollution contributes to drag on the economy, as governments have to direct funds to establish policies to mitigate dangers posed by such pollution. Additionally, governments have to direct funds to hospitals that handle patients who suffer from various ailments that result from environmental pollution.
A study the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI) discovered that air fresheners, which is a home fragrance product, usually incorporate volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which increase the risk of asthma in children (Walsh 2011, n.p). VOCs activate respiratory tract irritation, in addition to headache and dizziness. There is an accumulating fear that VOCs could be polluting the ground water, which could be disastrous to humans and wildlife.
Petroleum distillates are made from harmful petrochemicals, which, when exposed to air, causes air, soil, as well as groundwater pollution. Petroleum distillates contribute in the addition of toxic gases in the air, which may cause cancer. When toxic gases rise into the atmosphere, they merge with vapor to form acid rain, which is detrimental to aquatic life. The most common implication of acid rain is that many fish species cannot endure life in acidic water, leading to their deaths. When streams that contain acidic water flow on land, they leach aluminum from the soil, which hazardous to plants.
Some chemicals found in air fresheners cause hormonal disruption to human beings. Such fragrance may have significant lifelong implications on reproductive health, as well as development (Gottlieb & Prevention Health Books 2015, p. 183). Such chemicals include phthalates, which is associated with reproductive impairment in young boys; and galaxolide, which is found in human blood and breast milk. When such chemicals are detected in humans, it implies that their implications may become widespread in the future, as people continue to use the fragrant.
The effects of toxins may take time to identify, but non-governmental agencies, such as EPA, can assist in screening home products for toxins. EPA can help in reducing the effects of air fresheners by insisting on the product quality test. Air freshener products must be tested for toxins to meet the required standards. Testing for toxins can help in safeguarding customers from unscrupulous businesspersons, who want to gain profit at the expense of innocent customers.
The government can succeed in mitigating environmental effects of air fresheners by reviewing the existing laws. The law on toxic substances should be tightened to incorporate even products that release insignificant amount of toxin in the air. Air fresheners should be thoroughly assessed to identify chemicals that could be hazardous to humans and environment. Companies that make air fresheners should be compelled to offer full information concerning ingredients used to manufacture such products.
People who are using air fresheners should be advised to improve ventilation systems in their houses to weaken chemicals contained in air fresheners. Opening windows and using fans are some of the most appropriate and cheap ways to enhance homes’ air quality, as well as safety (Natural Resources Defense Council 2008, p. 1). Although women are more prone to allergic reactions from air fresheners than men are, they are the largest consumers of air fresheners. Thus, women should be educated on how to avoid products that pose health problem to their lives.
Making a change concerning preferences can assist in exposing harmful chemicals to environment. Consumers can be advised to utilize natural air fresheners to replace artificial air fresheners, which pose risk to their health. Alternatively, consumers can still utilize low-level phthalate air fresheners, which have been scrutinized by relevant agencies. Although most fragrant products incorporate a certain level of toxicity, it is advisable to choose products that offer minimum risk to consumers.
Air fresheners have gained recognition in the global market, as people strive to make their homes presentable. However, air fresheners do not offer the best solution to poor air quality, as individuals can open windows to allow air to circulate freely in their homes. Air fresheners do not really smell good to be applied as fragrant; hence, there is no need to justify their use. People should mind about the future generation by trying to avoid products that pose threat to the environment. The point is that what air fresheners’ threat to the environment may not be significant to be classified as dangerous air pollutants, but with the rising use of fragrant, questions have to be asked concerning eminent danger posed by air fresheners to environment. Governments can advise people to minimize the use of air fresheners, which could contribute towards environmental conservation.
Gottlieb, B., & Prevention Health Books. (2015). Health-defense: How to stay vibrantly healthy in a toxic world. Emmaus, PA, RODALE Inc.
Natural Resources Defense Council 2008, Protect Your Family from the Hidden Hazards in Air Fresheners, Natural Resources Defense Council, retrieved 2 August 2016, <https://www.nrdc.org/sites/default/files/fairfresheners.pdf>.
Walsh, B 2011, ‘Why Air Fresheners Can Trigger Respiratory Problems’, Time, November 8, retrieved 22 September 2016, < http://healthland.time.com/2011/11/08/why-air-fresheners-can-trigger-respiratory-problems/>