Several products in your bathroom are most likely packaged in an aerosol spray form. These products could range from your hairspray to your deodorant, shaving cream, and even your air freshener. The idea behind the creation of aerosol spray products was to make application and production faster and easier. However, there are several serious risks that these products can pose to your health.
The fastest way to absorb a chemical or substance into the body and bloodstream, aside from injecting it directly into the veins, is by inhaling the product into the lungs. When you use an aerosol spray product, about half of the material that is sprayed out winds up in the air around you. In a small and unventilated bathroom, a great deal of the product, and all of its harmful chemicals, will be inhaled.
The various chemicals included in a typical aerosol beauty product have been shown to raise serious health concerns including rash, hives, eye irritation, blurry vision, low blood pressure, headaches, mental confusion, nausea, and, if inhaled at high levels, loss of consciousness, anaphylactic response, and severe lung damage.1
Air fresheners might very well be the worst aerosol offenders in your bathroom. In a recent study conducted by the National Resources Defense Council, 12 out of 14 popular aerosol air fresheners were found to contain dangerous chemicals known as phthalates. These phthalates have been linked to a number of harmful conditions, including causing hormone imbalance, and they have even been linked to birth defects.2
You are probably also using aerosols outside of your bathroom in the form of aerosol spray cleaners to polish your furniture or clean your windows. In a 2007 study performed by the Centre for Research in Environmental Epidemiology at the Municipal Institute of Medical Research in Barcelona, Spain, using aerosol spray cleaners or air fresheners dramatically increased asthma risk. Of those studied who said they used aerosol cleaners once a week, asthma rates were 45% higher in women and 76% higher in men. And if use was increased to four or more times a week, the risk doubled.3
1 Taub S.J. “The dangers of aerosol sprays,” Eye Ear Nose Throat Mon., 54(5), http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1123032 (accessed via PubMed November 22, 2010)
2 NRDC, “Common Air Fresheners Contain Chemicals That May Affect Human Reproductive Development,” Natural Resources Defense Council, http://www.nrdc.org/media/2007/070919.asp (accessed November 22, 2010)
3 American Thoracic Society, “The Use of Household Cleaning Sprays and Adult Asthma,” American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, Vol. 176, http://ajrccm.atsjournals.org/cgi/content/full/176/8/735 (accessed November 22, 2010)