Room fresheners can trigger allergies, worsen asthma

Use of room fresheners and scented candles can cause respiratory problems and worsen asthma, allergists have warned.

`This is a much bigger problem than people realize,` said Stanley Fineman, MD, ACAAI president-elect.

`About 20 percent of the population and 34 percent of people with asthma report health problems from air fresheners. We know air freshener fragrances can trigger allergy symptoms, aggravate existing allergies and worsen asthma,` he said.

Home fragrance products may smell `fresh,` but Dr. Fineman warned many of these products contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and are merely `covering up` – not eliminating-odours in the home.

VOCs commonly found in air fresheners include: formaldehyde, petroleum distillates, limonene, esters and alcohols.

Studies revealed that even VOC exposure levels below currently accepted recommendations increase risk of asthma in children.

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