The Hazardous Effects of Febreze

Written by sarah jones
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The Hazardous Effects of Febreze
Julia Stiles introduces Febreze as a college dorm necessity on MTV. (Scott Gries/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images)

Produced by Proctor & Gamble, Febreze is a household odour eliminator and freshener. It was introduced to the North American market in 1988. Developed in England, it is now sold in Asia, New Zealand, Asia and Australia. Since its introduction, several forms of the famous brand have been added to the line, including scented candles and plug-in oils.

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Label Warning

The warning label advises against inhaling because it could be fatal. It also advises that in the event of contact with the eye to rinse immediately. It warns that hard surfaces could become slippery, so avoid slipping on the chemical and falling. It also says not to expose the chemical to fire or heat. Other than these basic warning, Proctor & Gamble has assured the public that its product is safe to use in the household.

Toxicity Research

Environmental Working Group (EWG) has independently tested Febreze. Its toxicology report claims that Febreze contains several chemicals that can be extemely harmful not only to the environment but also to your health. According to EWG, Febreze contains 89 air contaminants, including acetaldehyde, propylene glycol, limonene and methyl pyrrolidone ethylacetate, which is toxic to the brain and nervous system. These contaminants are linked to cancer, are toxic to the reproductive system and cause allergies.

The Hazardous Effects of Febreze
Febreze contains potentially harmful chemicals. (Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images)

Is It Safe for Pets?

There have been a lot of questions surrounding Febreze's safety with respect to animals. The Internet is rampant with reports about pets poisoned by Febreze. As of now, there is no strong evidence on which to base such a conclusion. The American Society of Prevention of Cruelty to Animals has issued a statement saying its toxicologists believe that animals are safe in the presence of Febreze. Caution around birds has been advised because they tend to be more sensitive to such products than most animals.

The Hazardous Effects of Febreze
Controversy surrounds the use of Febreze in the presence of pets. (PhotoObjects.net/PhotoObjects.net/Getty Images)

Overall Danger

It appears that there is an ongoing investigation of Febreze by various agencies, but there is no concrete and consistent information at the present time that suggests normal use of the product is hazardous. As with all household products, read the label thoroughly and take proper precautions. Use gloves when working with chemicals, keep them away from the skin and eyes and be sure to wash your hands thoroughly after use. If you have babies, young children or pets that you suspect might be extra-sensitive, remove them from the area before you use the product and keep them away for several minutes.

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