Do air fresheners pose health risks for pets?

Do air fresheners pose health risks for pets?


Vet Experts Weigh In on the Dangers of Air Scenting Products

No matter how attached you are to the air scenting products you use in your home — for example, air freshener sprays, upholstery sprays, plug-ins, gels, candles, or incense — it's important to consider the health risks these products can pose for furry family members.

Studies show that children can have as much as 30 times greater exposure to indoor pollutants than adults due to their smaller size and greater activity level. Now, consider these facts:

  • Most pets are even smaller than kids
  • They tend to spend a lot of time near the floor where all indoor air pollutants eventually wind up
  • They groom themselves and each other, which means they're ingesting the pollutant particles that have accumulated on their fur and in the environment
  • Many pets spend up to 100% of their time indoors, and are living with very high levels of airborne toxins

These factors combine to put pets at the highest risk of anyone in the household for health conditions related to indoor air pollution.

Harmful Substances in Scented Candles and Incense

A 2001 EPA study concluded that candles containing fragrance produce more soot. It's possible organic compounds in poor-quality candle wax may increase cancer risk.

Research shows that the chemicals emitted into the air by burning candles can have a harmful effect on human health. Paraffin candles produce potentially toxic chemicals, including alkanes, alkenes, and toluene.

Natural Alternatives to Keep Your Home Smelling Fresh

One of the best ways to freshen up the air in your home is to simply open the windows when weather allows. Also consider adding some pet-safe indoor plants. Common houseplants can help clean the air by using their natural ability to absorb toxins through their leaves and roots and turn them into nutrients. I also strongly recommend investing in an indoor air purifier, which can provide long-term benefits to both you and your pets.


Information from : Dr. Karen Shaw Becker (

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