Scented consumer products give off toxic emissions, scientists say

What smells good, might not be so good for you. Scientists discover some fragrances are rather toxic.
Written by Boonsri Dickinson, Contributing Editor

An air freshener might bring the smell of the ocean right to your bedroom, but it's not the same as the real thing. The fake smell is actually a mix of ingredients, not a salty, fresh breeze. And worse, scientists are finding some of the smells emitted by these household products are toxic and carcinogenic.

Unlike food products, manufacturers don't have to label scented products - which means, they don't have to disclose how their signature aroma was concocted. But if you open up any home, you'll find an assortment of laundry detergents, deodorants and soaps that contain potentially harmful emissions.

University of Washington scientists tested 25 common products and found that each one emitted about 17 chemicals.

According to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency standards, a third of the products that were tested contained a carcinogen. Even the green products weren't any better than regular products. The results were published in the Environmental Impact Assessment Review.

When the researchers put the products in a closed glass container, they found a few common emissions as well as a few harmful ones. The scientists found 420 chemicals total. Yet, when they looked at the labels on the products, only ethanol was listed. (See, Chemicals in your swimming pool increase your risk of cancer.)

There's actually a Household Product Labeling Act under review that would require the manufacturers to start listing the ingredients found in their smelly products.

"We don't want to give people the impression that if we reported on product 'A' and they buy product 'B,' that they're safe," Washington's professor Anne Steinemann said in a statement. "We found potentially hazardous chemicals in all of the fragranced products we tested."

Though, the scientists did offer this up as a tip: People should stick to products that don't smell if they are concerned about unwanted exposure.

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

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