Is Febreze Safe to Use?

Febreze is a popular air freshener used in many households to eliminate odors. But is this product actually safe? Febreze makes plenty of claims about its safety, but some concerns have also been raised about potential dangers. This article examines Febreze's safety claims as well as the potential risks to help you make an informed decision about whether Febreze is safe for you and your family.

Febreze Safety Claims

Febreze and its parent company Procter & Gamble make several claims about the safety of their air freshener products:

Ingredients Are Safe

According to Febreze, the ingredients used in their products are safe, both individually and in the formulas created. The company claims to put their products through years of rigorous safety testing in collaboration with regulatory agencies around the world to ensure this.

No Flammable Propellants

Many air fresheners use flammable propellants like butane or propane to spray out the product. These propellants can be hazardous if inhaled. However, Febreze products exclusively use nitrogen to propel the spray, which the company says is safe since nitrogen makes up 78% of the air we naturally breathe.

Safe Around Kids and Pets

Febreze states that their products are safe to use around children and pets when following label directions. Like any household product, it should be kept out of reach from kids.

Full Line Passes Safety Reviews

Procter & Gamble asserts that their entire line of Febreze products has passed safety assessments for use around humans and animals. This safety certification comes from following label directions.

Concerns about Febreze Ingredients

While Febreze claims their products are safe, concerns have been raised over the years about some of the ingredients included in their formulas.

Links to Lung Damage and Cancer

Some potentially problematic ingredients that have been used in Febreze include methoxychlor and VHE silver zeolite. Methoxychlor is a pesticide banned by the EPA for its links to cancer while some formulations of silver zeolite have been linked to lung damage.

Harmful Chemicals

Febreze contains chemicals like acetaldehyde, acetone, and propionaldehyde that studies have shown can irritate the lungs and airways. There is also evidence that the antimicrobial triclosan can disrupt hormones.

One especially concerning ingredient is acrylic acid, which is a known irritant that has been linked to respiratory effects, skin/eye damage, allergies, and acute aquatic toxicity.

Masks Odors Instead of Removing

Febreze does not chemically break down odor molecules or remove dirt. The product merely uses a scent created by its chemical formula to mask odors instead of cleaning the source. Some consumers prefer products that thoroughly eliminate odors.

Airway Irritation

The artificial fragrance chemicals in Febreze and other air fresheners can irritate the eyes, nose, throat, and lungs, especially for those with respiratory conditions like asthma. Even short-term inhalation can cause problems in sensitive individuals.

Misuse Dangers

Some Febreze products come with warnings against misusing the product around birds or inhaling it deliberately. Intentional inhalation abuse can be harmful or fatal by causing chemical pneumonia or systematic toxicity.

Safer Alternatives Exist

There are less toxic natural deodorizers like baking soda, vinegar, soap, and hydrogen peroxide that effectively absorb and remove odors without added chemicals. These options avoid the potentially hazardous ingredients in Febreze.

Should You Use Febreze?

Given the safety claims by Febreze versus the concerns about ingredients, is it actually safe to use this air freshener in your home? Here are some key considerations:

  • Follow All Label Directions – Misusing Febreze by overspraying, not ventilating appropriately, or using it around birds despite warnings can increase risk. Carefully follow all instructions.
  • Consider Safer Alternatives – For those concerned about chemicals, using natural odor absorbers may be preferable over chemical fragrances.
  • Avoid Use Around Those with Respiratory Issues – The American Lung Association cautions against air fresheners for people with lung conditions like asthma. Exercise caution and consider other options.
  • Use Properly Around Children & Pets – Keep Febreze and similar products out of reach of children and adequately ventilate when used around pets. Supervise use.
  • Talk to Your Doctor – Consult a physician if you have respiratory issues and are uncertain about Febreze or other scented product use in your home. Get their medical opinion.
  • Contact the Company – If you have concerns about Febreze's safety, reach out to Procter & Gamble directly to get information straight from the source.

While the makers of Febreze assert it is safe when used as directed, there are legitimate concerns about some ingredients and risks of misuse. Take these factors into account when deciding if Febreze is right for your household. With proper precautions, it may be safe for most people without respiratory issues, but other alternatives are also available if you want to avoid potential chemical exposures. Discuss any questions or uncertainties about Febreze with your medical provider.


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