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The Naturally Aromatic Home

Use natural blends—for any mood and personality—to create an aromatic home without toxic chemicals.

| May/June 2015

  • Blend your own room sprays to freshen any living space.
    Photo by GAP Interiors

Few things are more pleasant than walking into a beautifully scented home, but most commercial air-freshening products contain synthetic ingredients that can release a deluge of potentially hazardous chemicals. In fact, 95 percent of the chemicals in synthetic fragrances, listed on ingredient labels as “fragrance,” are derived from petrochemicals.

Recipes for Natural Blends

3 Earthy Room Sprays
3 Floral Room Sprays

Artificial fragrance is one of the most sensitizing and toxic of all ingredients used in personal- and home-care products today. The 3,000-plus chemicals used in the manufacture of commercial air-freshener ingredients can include volatile organic compounds, or VOCs (turn to page 52 to read more about VOCs and lung health); carcinogens such as benzene and formaldehyde; as well as a group of hormone-disrupting chemicals called phthalates. (For more in-depth information about phthalates and hormone-disrupting chemicals, read 6 Hormone-Disrupting Chemicals to Avoid.)

When the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) tested 14 air fresheners, it found that 12 contained phthalates, which can cause hormonal abnormalities, birth defects and reproductive problems. In the study, even air fresheners marketed as “all-natural” or “unscented” contained the hazardous chemicals, which also can cause allergic reactions, asthma attacks, eczema and a host of other sensitivities. Manufacturers use these chemicals because they generally last longer and are cheaper than essential oils.

Make Your Own Natural Scents

Blending our own room sprays circumvents the shelf-life issue, as we don’t need to plan for complex distribution logistics. As for expense, some essential oils are pricey, but they are used in sparing amounts and are incredibly useful around the house (you may already have some on hand).

Besides smelling lovely, essential oils can affect our mood. When we breathe in an odor, scent molecules enter the bloodstream and are carried to other parts of the body. Depending on the chemical makeup of the plant, we can soothe or boost our spirits. Another upside to air fresheners made with botanical oils is the germ-fighting power of many essential oils. All the blends in this article contain mild antibacterial and antiviral properties.

4/23/2015 4:45:37 PM

essential oils can melt plastic. recommend always using glass

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