Be careful the next time you clean up the house – spraying air freshener in your home could lead to cancer and other serious health risks. Although there are currently no bans on phthalate ingredients in household air fresheners in the United States, some studies have suggested the chemicals are linked to cancer, developmental defects, and sex-hormone abnormalities.
Phthalates are common in products such as air freshener, cosmetics, and toys. A recent study found that air fresheners pulled from a local Walgreens contained as much as 7,300 parts per million of phthalates. This has caused Walgreens to pull three of their air freshener products, and remove phthalates completely from the production of one air freshener item.
The Food and Drug Administration currently has no restrictions on phthalate content and requires no labeling for products containing the chemicals. But studies have found phthalates to be linked to cancer, developmental risks, and defects in both reproductive organs and hormones. The European Union has banned two types of phthalates, while California is currently working to ban phthalate ingredients from children’s toys.