Lawsuit Seeks Chemical Safety Testing and Labeling for Home Air Fresheners

Government and Corporate Responsibility Needed to Protect Consumer Health

NEW YORK (June 13th, 2008) – The federal government needs to inform consumers about the chemical ingredients found in household air fresheners and the potential risks those chemicals pose to human health, according to a lawsuit served this week by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), Sierra Club, and Alliance for Healthy Homes (AHH).  The lawsuit follows a 2007 NRDC analysis of more than a dozen common household air fresheners, which found that most contained chemicals called phthalates that may affect hormones and reproductive development, particularly in babies.  Air fresheners can also contain other chemicals linked to increased rates of cancer and asthma.

The lawsuit, filed against the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), would require the government to mandate that manufacturers test air fresheners for safety and properly label their products with full ingredient lists.  Since the release of NRDC’s 2007 air fresheners report, Clearing the Air, this information is still not available to the public.

The lawsuit can be downloaded here:

Below is a statement by Natural Resources Defense Council attorney Mae Wu:

“Consumers deserve to know that the products they bring into their homes are safe for use.  Picking an air freshener off the store shelf shouldn’t be a guessing game.  Air fresheners can contain chemicals that may cause cancer, reproductive defects, or respiratory problems like asthma, yet the government continues to turn a blind eye. Meanwhile, the manufacturers will not commit to testing all the chemical ingredients of their products for safety, or even sharing the ingredient lists with consumers. 

“If manufacturers refuse to be up front about the chemicals in their products and the potential health risks they cause, then it is the government’s responsibility to demand that information for Americans. It’s impossible for consumers to make informed choices to protect the health of their families when basic information is being withheld.”