Spraying a scented odor remover in the air to get rid of odors could be doing you more harm than good. Do you know the substance you smell is harmful to your health?
Attack of the VOC
Just what is a VOC? The air freshener or scented remover that’s lurking in your home is a volatile organic compound or VOC. Volatile means these compounds easily evaporate at room temperature. They can be a solid (gelled air fresheners), liquid (typical odor remover) or gas (off gassing of carpet).
In the thousands
VOCs are found both indoors and out. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), VOCs are about 10 times worse indoors. Why? There are several but here’s two reasons: 1.) We don’t open windows frequently enough. 2.) The number of VOC emitting products are in the thousands.
What’s lurking in your home?
Popular scented odor eliminating products can contain ethanols, terpenes (these are responsible for pine and citrus scents), acetones or limonene. A professor and her colleagues, at the University of Washington in Seattle, analyzed 25 air fresheners, and various other cleaning products and discovered there were not one or two VOCs present but on average 17!*
Ingredients aren’t required
- The Consumer Products Safety Commission (an agency that regulates cleaning, laundry and air freshener products) does not require manufacturers to put ingredients on labeling.
- Scented products are proprietary and don’t have to be listed on labels or on Material Safety Data Sheets (information that is standard for occupational settings, but manufacturer’s good stewardship practices make it available for consumers as well).
Not feeling well?
Exposure to VOCs can result in some immediate symptoms. Dizziness, skin irritation, fatigue, headaches are a few of the short-term problems. Remove the offending VOC and these symptoms subside.
Long-term health effects
The EPA’s view is long-term exposure to VOCs can cause cancer, asthma or worsening of asthma, kidney and central nervous system harm. VOCs especially are a concern for children, the elderly, and those with compromised immune systems.
What should you do?
- If you purchase a product with a VOC, buy a small amount of the product, and once opened, seal tightly.
- Open windows frequently.
- Better yet, refuse to purchase air fresheners and odor removing products with scents; after all your health could be a risk.
What’s in your odor and stain remover? PetKeeper Secrets Odor & Stain Remover contains no VOCs or fragrances. It’s completely safe for you and your family of pets.