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Sweet smelling alert

Are you one of those people enticed by advertisements which promise a joyful and elated life can be yours when your home smells nice?

The wow factor of this upmarket sophistication is available for all, regardless of species or culture. That breath-holding pong will vanish instantly, flowers will bloom and all is sunshine sweetness.

Easy really when you think about it, but are you, the consumer, actually thinking at all? Could it be those few squirts from an aerosol can or the strategic placement of any other type of air freshener are poison? So next time you reach for a can, take some time to read or find out what just it is that you are using. It could make you feel quite sick literally – that’s if your can has an ingredient label!

The manufacturers who produce and market these products are very aware of how powerful the sense of smell is to our emotional response. Smell has been tested and proven to be a powerful tool that can affect our state of mind. But what needs to be put into perspective is that when the air freshener is combined with other household products such as carpet cleaner, together they can contribute to a complex mixture of chemicals and a build-up of levels of Volatile Organic Compounds which are believed to be linked to a number of illnesses.

Researchers in this country and in the UK have all expressed their concern. Scientific evidence strongly implicates that the use of these chemicals freely in the environment is the cause of many illnesses. For instance, we have cases of babies suffering from diarrhoea and earache; also stay at home parents and elderly people suffering headaches and depression. But what is even more disturbing is the link to breast cancer. These groups of people are more vulnerable because they are most likely to spend most of their time indoors. Also, they generally find the convenience of these products to be helpful.

Also disturbing is the lack of ingredient labelling on some of the products. Those products, that are visible, such as containers that are left to stand or are plugged into an electrical socket, will usually list the ingredients. But what is interesting is that the aerosol can freshener generally has nothing is listed. The name of the propellant used is listed along with the telephone number of the poisons centre in case of emergencies. Consumers I believe, have a right to know exactly what ingredients are in the can so an informed decision can be made about their use of the product.

Perhaps its time to investigate some of the old natural remedies that your granny used. For instance in your home, try creating a lovely warm aroma by putting cloves, orange peel, ground cinnamon, vanilla extract, and fresh ginger into a pot of water and let it simmer gently on the stove. Clean and non-toxic!

By Carylinn Edmonds