Study: Fragrant Cleaning Products May Be Bad For Health

MIAMI (CBS4) — Do you buy cleaning products just because they smell good? A new study found that while pleasing to the nose, those fragrances could be bad for your health.

Lemon, powder fresh, Hawaiian breeze and vanilla cupcake are just some of the scents you’ll find in household items today. But while they smell nice, the study says the chemicals used to make those sweet scents may have ugly effects on your health.

“I had so many calls and emails from hundreds of people telling me they were getting sick from common fragranced household products,” said Anne Steinemann, a professor of civil and environmental engineering.

Steinemann studied more than two dozen commonly used scented items.

“All of them emitted chemicals that are classified as toxic or hazardous under federal laws,” she said.

Steinemann said that more than a third of the products, even some labeled organic, emitted at least one chemical – like formaldehyde – deemed carcinogenic by the Environmental Protection Agency.

“These are chemicals that can damage the lungs, the brain, the central nervous system,” said Steinemann.

She said that you would never know it by looking at the label because fragrances are considered proprietary – so they’re under no obligation to list their ingredients.


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