Clearing the Air: Hidden Hazards of Air Fresheners

Issue Paper
September 18, 2007

Air fresheners have become a staple in many American homes and offices, marketed with the promise of creating a clean, healthy and sweet-smelling indoor atmosphere. But this September 2007 issue paper shows that many of these products contain phthalates (pronounced thal-ates) -- hazardous chemicals known to cause hormonal abnormalities, birth defects and reproductive problems. To protect consumers, government action to conduct more thorough tests and enact basic measures to limit exposure to phthalates is urgently needed.

UPDATE 9.20.07: Walgreens announced that it will remove Walgreens brand air fresheners from stores and conduct independent testing. The company also plans to introduce phthalate-free air fresheners soon. NRDC praises Walgreens for its quick response.

UPDATE 3.12.09: SC Johnson announced it will provide ingredient information for all of its air care and home cleaning products and phase out its remaining use of phthalates by 2012.