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Green Cleaning - Air Fresheners
Artificial air fresheners have become a staple of many municipal office buildings and other town-owned facilities. Locker rooms, lavatories, storage closets, lounges, public spaces and even official vehicles often contain these products. The notion that a cocktail of petrochemicals can create a "clean, fresh smell" demonstrates the power of advertising to overwhelm common sense.

Many of the chemicals contained in commercial air freshening products contain, among other things, phthalates (pronounced "thay-lates") − a class of hazardous chemicals known to cause hormonal abnormalities, birth defects, and reproductive problems. An independent test of fourteen common air freshening products conducted by National Resources Defense Council showed phthalates were present in all but two of them, including many listed as "unscented."

Other chemicals commonly found in air fresheners (and scented candles) can trigger asthma attacks, interfere with endocrine systems, and even increase the risks of cancer in some individuals. Children and pregnant women are particularly vulnerable to these toxins.

Good ventilation and regular cleaning is still the best way to keep the air fresh. There are many new products on the market using essential oils and plant extracts to create pleasant but non-toxic scents.

How Green Is My Town? is a program of Grassroots Environmental Education
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