A new study by University of Washington researcher Anne Steinemann in the journal Environmental Impact Assessment Review reports many forms of smelly products like air fresheners, dryer sheets and detergents all contained a mixture of volatile organic compounds.
Since manufacturers aren’t required to list their ingredients for such consumer products, the boxes only admitted to containing a “mixture of perfume oils.” But five out of the six products Steinemann tested emitted one or more so-called hazardous air pollutants, which are carcinogens determined to have no safe exposure level by the EPA.
This shows a lack of skepticism on the everyone’s part, including my own. I don’t think I’ve ever really questioned how a company makes their fabric softener smell like Springtime or Flower Blossom fresh. Its pretty clear where companies used to use simple scented oils for many of their aromas, competition has forced them to change their tactics. The only problem is no one’s been keeping tabs. Technology is seeping into every form of consumer product out there and the EPA and other regulatory groups will have to keep up if they’re going to keep us safe.