Air Fresheners are Bad for Your Health – But There’s a Solution

Air Fresheners are Bad for Your Health – But There’s a Solution

Whether it’s as a finishing touch after cleaning or to help mask a bad odor, room sprays have long been a go-to for freshening up the home. However, while conventional room sprays may eliminate odors and introduce the pleasing scent of a spring day or freshly dried linens, they also bring into the home dozens – and often even hundreds – of toxic chemicals.  

In fact, room sprays were born in a chemical lab. 

Created in a Chem Lab  

In the 1990s, a chemist at Proctor & Gamble was experimenting with Hydroxypropyl beta cyclodextrin (HPbCD) when his wife noticed that her husband, a long-time smoker, no longer smelled of cigarettes, calling the chemist’s attention to HPbCD’s odor-eliminating abilities.  

Before long, the first and still most popular air freshener spray was born, and today, approximately 75 percent of American homes use some form of room spray, with the air freshener industry expected to gross $12 billion by 2023. (Source: Allied Market Research)  

Since they were created in a chemistry lab, it shouldn’t be surprising that room sprays are traditionally so chockful of chemicals – most notable among them are a number of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), formaldehyde, toluene, phthalates, and more.  

The VOCs most prevalent in air-freshening sprays – acetone, ethanol, and acetate, among others – can all produce nausea and headaches, impaired lung function, eye, nose, and throat irritation; and even damage to the nervous system, liver, and kidneys following prolonged exposure.  

Also prevalently found in room sprays are all of the following ingredients, outlined by MADE SAFE® to highlight their toxicity and harmful effects:  


  • Acetaldehyde – a probable carcinogen  
  • Benzenea known carcinogen and developmental and reproductive toxin 
  • d-Limonene – associated with skin and eye irritation. This substance is a sensitizer, which means it’s likely to increase the odds of a future allergic reaction. 
  • Formaldehyde – a known carcinogen. 
  • Parabens – linked to breast cancer and effects associated with hormone disruption  
  • Phthalates – associated with effects from endocrine disruption, including damage to the female reproductive system, birth defects, and lower sperm counts 
  • Styrene – associated with cancer and neurotoxicity 
  • Toluene – linked to developmental and reproductive toxicity 
  • Xylene – linked to the effects of central nervous system depression, like headache, dizziness, depression, and impaired short-term memory  

 Hidden Ingredients  

With the above list of ingredients linked to so many toxicities and negative side effects, how are companies able to continue selling traditional room sprays, and why aren’t more people aware of the toxic chemicals that they are spraying into their home on a routine basis? 

Much of that has to do with the laws surrounding labeling and ingredient disclosure. If you pick up a bottle of a large name-brand air freshening spray, you’re likely to notice only vague terms such as “fragrance” or “odor eliminator” – and that’s if there are any ingredients listed at all.  

Because both the odor-eliminating formulations and the fragrances are considered to be trade secrets by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), brands are exempt from having to list the ingredients included in their air freshener.  

With the absence of ingredients on the label, it is impossible for most room spray users to really know what chemicals they may be exposed to and what substances they are spraying into their homes.  

That’s where Fontana comes in.  


With Fontana’s Spray & Renew room sprays, you know exactly what you’re getting because it is only three ingredients: witch hazel, pure essential oils, and distilled water.  

Not only that, Fontana’s Spray & Renew Collection is made up of the first room sprays ever to be MADE SAFE® certified!  

MADE SAFE® is a program of Nontoxic Certified, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, with the program providing America’s first comprehensive human health and ecosystem-focused certification for nontoxic products. That means when you see the MADE SAFE® seal, you know your products – like Fontana’s room sprays – have undergone extensive testing and are made with only safe ingredients, proven to not contain any toxic chemicals known to harm human health.  

The all-new, 100% natural room spray collection is available in Cinnamon Orange Clove, Wildflower Citrus, Fresh Mint & Lime, Lemon Orange Blossom, Palo Santo & Grapefruit, Lavender, and Lemongrass Eucalyptus. Using the same ingredients that stay true to Fontana Candle Company’s heritage, the room spray is a fun way to fill your home with the scents you love and trust!  


Shop the new Spray & Renew Collection here.