Something Wicked This Way ComesIf you don’t ask…they won’t tell because by law they don’t have to!
There’s No Place Like Home…According to the Environmental ProtectionAgency, scientific evidence suggests that the air in our homes tends tobe more polluted than outdoor air and you don’t have to be a rocketscientist to figure out why. We have no one to blame but ourselves.
We have all heard the old adage that ignorance is bliss. Not only is it anythingbut, as consumers we are extremely reluctant to avail ourselves of theknowledge that could improve the air quality in our homes and therebyimproving our quality of life. We have become a society of followers and AsSeen On TV consumers often times to our own detriment.Our homes have become milieus of volatile organic compounds and chemicalstews that smell good and make everything look clean, and at the same timeimpact our health in measures unknown.Let’s start with the smoke associated with daily activities that may includecooking and cigar and cigarette smoking. Then there the things we use to cleanour home environment such as oven cleaner, drain cleaner, toilet bowlcleaner, powdered cleanser, aerosol tub and tile cleaner, disinfectantsprays, glass cleaner, aerosol furniture and electronic cleaners to name a few.
Add to this chemical stew the products we use to tackle the odors generatedfrom all the cleaning products, normal body functions, dirty laundry, smellyshoes, garbage, pet odors, and food such as fried fish, onions and garlic aswell as aerosol cooking spray! From traditional air fresheners- gel solids, aerosols, plug-ins, motionactivated sprays, certain types of candles, and liquid potpourri in boilingpots, we are consciously polluting our air space and we aren’t done yet!There are fragrance fresheners for artificial Christmas trees to make themsmell like the real thing, and aerosol snow in a can to make them look like thereal thing during a snowfall. There is even a fragrance oil for keroseneheaters . There are the personal care products that are usually sprayed in asmall closed-in area- little things like hair spray andspritz, deodorant/antiperspirants, body sprays, tanning sprays, cosmeticsetting sprays, feminine hygiene sprays, spray colognes and aftershaves andperfumes. Each item comes with its own full complement of VOCs (volatileorganic chemicals).
According to the Aerias Indoor Quality Resource Center about 4000chemicals are used to make fragrances and several hundred can be used injust a single product! That is why perfumes, with their low levels of volatileorganic compounds (VOCs), can contribute to indoor air pollution. Chemicalsthat may be used as bases for perfumes include aliphatic hydrocarbons suchas propane, butane, hexane, and limonene. Other cosmetics useother solvents such as ethanol, formaldehyde, and methanol. The solvent thatis used in nail polish remover, acetone, is strong enough to dissolve furniturefinish and some plastics. Since solvents evaporate quickly, they also get intothe air easily. This is especially true if the solvent is sprayed or misted on likewith aerosol cans of hairspray. These vapors and mists can hang in the airand be easily breathed deep into the lungs. Over the years we have found a way to systematically make it moredifficult to breathe inside the house than outside.
The Most Dangerous Room In The HouseFrom an environmental standpoint, hands down the most dangerous room inthe house is the bathroom! The average size of a bathroom ranges from 5- 9feet in width and 8-11 feet in length. In that space alone toilet bowl cleaner,some type of shower/tub cleaner, window cleaner, some type of disinfectantspray, air freshener, hairspray, and other aerosols will all enter that air space.For the most part bathrooms are closed environments that are poorlyventilated. A person seated on a toilet next to or near an air freshening unitwill encounter the same type of contamination as a professional cleaner whoworks in a similar toxic environment day after day.
Depending on the size of the bathroom and proximity to an oil type freshener, the chemicals from the freshener cause fine dust particles to connect with theabout four thousand often extremely dangerous contents of cigarette smoke.This combination of air freshener chemicals and cigarette smoke contents isespecially dangerous as these fine particles settle in the body, especially in thearea of the mouth and throat. There is also the issue of combustion when usinga flame source in an area with an oil based freshener.
What The Law SaysWhile my own personal opinion is that an informed consumer is a wiseconsumer-I think MSDS sheet information should be available at the pointof sale for all household chemicals, especially aerosols and air fresheners.That is not to say that the information we need the most would beavailable. Case in point is the information or lack thereof contained in theMSDS sheet for the world’s largest seller of car fresheners. It states inpart, “THE SPECIFIC CHEMICAL IDENTITIES OF THE INGREDIENTSOF THIS MIXTURE ARE CONSIDERED ASPROPRIETARY INFORMATION AND TRADE SECRETS. ASSUCH, THEY ARE WITHELD IN ACCORDANCEWITH THE PROVISIONS OF CFR 1910.1200 OF TITLE 29”What does CFR 1910.1200 of Title 29 actually say?
The Hazard Communication Standard, also known as the Right-to-Know Law,was first enacted on November 25, 1983, by the Occupational Safety and HealthAdministration (OSHA). It was later modified with minor changes and technicalamendments to take effect March 11, 1994. The standard is referenced by Title 29,Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) 1910.1200 and amended in the February 9,1994, Federal Register. The sixth and final category of Hazard Communicationinvolves manufacturer Trade Secrets (29 CFR 1910.1200(i)). The chemicalmanufacturer may withhold the chemical identity, including the chemical nameand other specific information, from the MSDS. However, under specialconditions, this secret information may be obtained by health care professionals.So basically if you think a freshener or any other chemical you use is making yousick, unless the company lists the ingredients, only your doctor is privy to theinformation.
Wheels, Ride, Machine, Jalopy, Clunker, Beater or Betsy- A car by any othername is one of our most prized possessions, but an auto interior can be the mosttoxic environment most of us spend time in. Cigarette odor, particulate, andresidues coat every internal surface in a smokers automobile. An article in theOakland Journal reported, ”As public smoking becomes more restrictive, peopleare smoking in their cars more often and masking the stale smell with airfresheners. Doctors in Germany issued a warning last year to people who smoke intheir cars and use one of the popular car air fresheners, stating there is a greatlyincreased risk of cancer due to a dangerous chemical interaction between thecigarette smoke and the car air freshener scents. The cancer these people are at anespecially increased risk of developing is the cancer of the mouth, throat, andlarynx. “One air freshening brand, trying to be helpful, suggests, “Your nose couldbecome numb to the smell, so if you feel you don’t smell the fragranceanymore, you need to switch it up. Particularly if your friends andneighbors smell the fragrance and you don’t.”
The researchers at Air-Purifier Power remind us that, “Fragrance” is a prettyword that hides a list of over 3000 volatile organic chemical compounds used asair freshener ingredients. Many of these synthetics were created relativelyrecently. The dangers of air fresheners are carried on tiny airborne droplets thatyou cant see.But it isnt just your nose being coated with the oils, your lungs are getting apaint job too. Many "fresheners" obscure odors with a scent that confuses theolfactory organs. Some disburse anesthetics to dull the sense of smell.Manufacturers of consumer products in general are not required to discloseingredients.
Freshening products have been around forever in one form or another andit wasn’t until the middle of the 20th century that they really came into theirown. The problem does not lie with the concept of an air fresheningproduct, the problem is the chemical make-up of the product and theimpact it has on the air quality of the environments we most often findourselves in.Emy Baker’s Originals Tea Bag fresheners are made from a plant basedmaterial that is organic, non- toxic , biodegradable and a USDABio-Preferred Product – an effective, eco- friendly option for fresheningproduct s and health and beauty products. A copy of our material factsheet is available on request.www.emybaker.com 3516 Hyde Avenue Cleveland, Oh 44109
Created byMarsha Dean Walker Produced by EastWalk Media