A chemical called 1,4-dichlorobenzene, or 1,4-DCB, could harm your lungs.
It is found in air fresheners, toilet deodorizers, and mothballs, and is present in the blood of nearly all Americans. 1,4-DCB is the chemical that gives mothballs their distinctive smell.
The finding came as part of a National Institutes of Health study that looked at 11 household chemicals. All 11 chemicals are emitted as gasses by common household products. 1,4-DCB was the only chemical in the study which was linked to lung damage.Those who had the highest amounts in the chemical in their blood showed diminished lung function, which could be serious for those with asthma or other lung problems. Reduced lung function is also a risk factor for heart disease, stroke, and lung cancer.
Air fresheners have been linked to cancer in the past, and this new study may demonstrate one reason why. It really is quite amazing that this chemical found in air fresheners, 1,4-dichlorobenzene, is present in the blood of 96 percent of Americans.
This is especially alarming as this toxic chemical has been associated with so many health problems. In general you want to avoid having any benzene derivative chemicals in your body as they have very similar toxic side effects.
It's best to avoid using any chemicals in your home. However, that a might tall achievement in this day and age. What you can do, however, is limit your exposure as much as possible with the following tips:
Artificial air fresheners, dryer sheets, fabric softeners or other synthetic fragrances can pollute the air you are breathing, with 1,4-DCB and other chemicals. If you use air fresheners because you are trying to eliminate unpleasant scents, try to prevent them from occurring in the first place.
If you are using air fresheners because you like the scent, therapeutic essential oils are an excellent, and safe, alternative.