Hazards of Scented Products

Whether it’s your car air freshener, laundry detergent, cologne, or “pine fresh” aftershave, if it’s scented, it’s likely laden with phthalates. These hormone-disrupting chemicals can cause a host of health issues. “Studies have linked chronic phthalate exposure to allergies, sperm damage, and decreased testosterone levels,” says Caroline Cox, research director at the Center for Environmental Health. More disturbing, companies aren’t required to list phthalates on labels. “You’ll usually just see the generic term ‘fragrance’ to describe a proprietary mixture of chemicals,” says Heather Patisaul, a phthalate researcher at North Carolina State University.