Can Perfume And Air Fresheners Cause Cancer?

Perfumes and Air Fresheners Cause Cancer

The producers of air fresheners are not obliged by law to disclose their ingredients, which can be a costly omission. In particular, experts confirmed styrene as reasonably anticipated human carcinogen that causes sperm damage as well as cancer. The xylene, also used as airplane fuel, is a known toxic substance that affects the respiratory, cardiovascular, and other organs of the human body.


The benzyl alcohol, also used in paints and lacquers, may cause allergies as well as brain, organ, and nervous system toxicity. Other common additives used in many perfumes are the xylene, ethyl acetate, benzyl alcohol, hydroxycitronellal, and the lilial.


People are being exposed to air fresheners more and more in the present share ride economy. Don’t you know that 95% of the synthetic chemicals used in fragrances are derived from petroleum?


Generally, the air fresheners are made of VOCs or volatile organic compounds that float on the air. These synthetic chemicals may induce nausea, difficulty in breathing, impaired balance, allergies and damage the central nervous system including the organs. Some literally cause cancer!


Most air fresheners contain phthalates meant to disperse fragrances. However, they are said to create hormone disrupting effects. When released into the air, they can enter the bloodstream through inhalation and skin contact.



The phthalates have been shown to worsen allergic symptoms, specifically asthma and eczema. In addition, those with high urinary levels of phthalates suffered from impaired lung function. They also mess up your thyroid.


The dirty little secret of hormone disruption lies behind their pleasant scents. A survey of asthmatics reports that perfumes or colognes triggered attacks in nearly 3 out of 4 individuals.


Many are linked to hormone disruption and reproductive problems. In fact, kitchen pesticides used to rid homes of insects and rodents can cause headaches, nausea and damage to the liver or kidney including the central nervous system. Just in case you don’t know but the styrene used to make carpets can cause kidney and liver damage.


Recent studies suggest that air fresheners raise the risk of a number of pulmonary diseases. In fact, researchers found that exposure from air fresheners as little as once a week may increase your odds of developing asthma by 71%.


It can exacerbate asthma and potentially contribute to its development, especially in children. According to the Cancer Prevention Coalition, the perfume industry uses up to 3,000 ingredients where about 900 of them are known toxic substances.


air fresheners cause cancer


Don’t you know that many of the chemicals included in a perfume are the same chemicals you find in a cigarette smoke? It may not be acute poisoning, but it is definitely chronic because it stays in the system and accumulates in the tissues.


For example, the synthetic musk may attack living tissues. The human population are typically exposed to musks transdermally with soap, cosmetics and clothes washed with scented detergents. Musks are usually inhaled through cologne sprays.


German researchers found musks in the fat of all their sample population. The result could be unanticipated accumulation of toxic chemicals that may inhibit cellular defenses against chemicals plus the tendency to bioaccumulate.


Fragrances may produce a deleterious effect on the DNA. The potential role of fragrances, air fresheners, colognes, and perfumes in causing mutagenic and fetal brain cell death at extremely low concentrations qualify for an in-depth study and investigation.


Millions report adverse reactions to perfumes and fragrances such as lung diseases, migraines, and other health problems. Approximately 12.6% of the population suffer from multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS).


This is a condition a person may experience reactions from exposure to low concentrations of common chemicals. The MCS is also known as the Environmental Illness or Toxic Injury.


In response to multiple chemical reactions, the symptoms may include difficulty in breathing, sleeping, concentrating, memory loss, migraines, nausea, abdominal pain, chronic fatigue, aching joints and muscles, and irritated eyes, nose, ears, throat, or skin.


The Institute of Medicine has placed fragrance in the same category as second hand smoke in triggering asthma in adults and school age children. About up to 72% of asthmatics report their asthma was triggered by fragrance.




David Suzuki Foundation. Use in cosmetics.

Bagasra, O & Pace, D. G. (2013). Smell of autism: Synthetic fragrances and cause for allergies, asthma, cancer and autism. OA Autism. 1(2), pp. 15.

Ferlow, K. (2008). Fragrance: A growing health and environmental hazard. Positive Health.

Fragrance Free Zone (n.d.). Invisible Disabilities Association.

Mukti. Could your perfume be giving you breast cancer?



Air fresheners emit pollutants that create high levels of formaldehyde, which is a carcinogen shown to cause cancer in animals and respiratory irritation in humans. You cannot see volatile organic compounds (VOCs) but you can smell them.


VOCs can cause eye and respiratory tract irritation, headaches, dizziness, visual disorders and memory impairment. Some are known to cause cancer in animals and suspected to cause cancer in humans too. VOCs are widespread and the best that you can do is to reduce their use in your homes and provide proper ventilation.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *