The danger: In a 2012 study published in The Journal of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology, scientists discovered that phthalates, a class of plasticizing chemicals often used in synthetically fragranced products, help fuel cancer growth in some of the most hard-to-treat types of breast cancer. Long known to act as hormone disruptors and implicated in hormone-sensitive breast cancers, the latest research shows that phthalates also accelerate cancer growth in estrogen receptor-negative breast cancer cells, meaning the plastic chemicals are negatively impacting our bodies in previously unknown ways. In this study, phthalates fueled cancer cells to multiply 3.0 times faster and spread about 2.5 times faster, compared to cells not exposed to phthalates.
Safer solution: Nix scented air freshener sprays and gels, along with scented candles, to avoid phthalate-laced indoor air pollution. Instead, clean up the source of the bad odor and use beeswax candles for ambience. You can also put vodka in a spray bottle and use as an air freshener. It contains ethyl alcohol, a common component of many commercial air fresheners, but without the toxic petroleum additives and synthetic fragrances.