• Can air fresheners trigger asthma in your child?

    They may smell sweet and may eliminate bad odors in the home, but are these necessarily safe for your children’s respiratory health?
  • kid nebulizerThere may be more hazards that can potentially harm your child or worsen his existing conditions than you think. Even in the comforts of your own home, for instance, certain products, such as air fresheners, can actually trigger lung problems in your child.

    According to a recent study presented at a meeting of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI), air fresheners and other fragrance products contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that are composed of harmful chemicals such as formaldehyde, esters, alcohols, limone and petroleum distillates. Around 20 and more of these VOCs were discovered in home air fresheners.

    Formaldehyde can cause eyes to become irritated, making them watery and causing burning sensations as well in the throat. It can also trigger nausea and difficulty in breathing, depending on the amount of concentration in a product.

    An odor destroying agent, esters have been shown in past studies to worsen asthma conditions and affect reproductive development. Inhalation of ethanol vapors, on the other hand, can cause drowsiness, dizziness, and muscle convulsions, among others. 

    Solvents such as the petroleum distillates may actually cause undifferentiated connective tissue disease (UCTD), basically characterized by an overactive immune system that “attacks itself instead of fighting off pathogens such as bacteria”. 

    Dr. Stanley Fimeman, president-elect of ACAAI, notes, “This is a much bigger problem than people realize. About 20 percent of the population and 34 percent of people with asthma report health problems from air fresheners. We know air freshener fragrances can trigger allergy symptoms, aggravate existing allergies and worsen asthma”.

     

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