Jennifer Nelson is a health and also wellness writer with more than two years of experience. She is the writer of Airbrushed Nation: The Lure and also Loathing that Women’s Magazines.

You are watching: Is hairspray bad for the environment


Aerosol sprays save on computer chemicals favor formaldehyde and xylene, therefore you’re "freshening" the air inside your home with toxins.Alex Ionas/Shutterstock

My mother-in-law supplied to be obsessed with the smell of wait freshener. At any time we visited her, every bathroom and bedroom would certainly be equipped with assorted sprays, scents and room deodorizers. As soon as I awakened in the night come something being sprayed in the room. In the morning, I identified what it was: A new spray gadget collection to spritz wait freshener right into the room hourly.

But here’s the thing: Aerosol air fresheners contribute to, rather than reduce, at home air pollution, according to the ecological Protection agency (EPA). “In general, the chemicals that produce the aerosol result are poor for the environment, in certain the ozone,” claims Stewart Lonky, an expert in biological toxicity and author of “Invisible Killers: The Truth around Environmental Genocide.”

“Have you check out the ingredient labels on many air fresheners?” asks K.B. Lee, founder and CEO of ever Bamboo, a firm that promotes organic ways to neutralize odors. Opportunities are you’d watch fragrance or perfume ~ above the list, and also that solitary ingredient can contain as much as 400 more ingredients, some of them toxic. Aerosol sprays additionally contain chemicals favor formaldehyde and xylene, therefore you’re “freshening” v toxins.

“These ingredients space carcinogens and also neurotoxins harmful to our bodies, children and also pets,” claims Lee. Over there are actual risks, specifically with hair sprays and also air fresheners, which have the right to send formaldehyde and other volatile necessary compounds (VOCs) not only into the air, but additionally onto surfaces throughout her home.

“Once top top surfaces, these toxins can get on your hands,” and from there, that course, castle can gain into your mouth. Says Lonky. “This an approach of intake is often more harmful and also ubiquitous than many civilization realize.” because that example, aerosol spray paint may contain methylene chloride, i beg your pardon is known to cause cancer in animals, according to the consumer Product security Commission. And also if friend ingest it, your body counter it come carbon monoxide and also can reason symptoms linked with carbon monoxide exposure.

What aerosol does to the environment

Even an ext dismaying is exactly how aerosols, which room tiny particles suspended in gas, are affecting the climate. According to a brand-new MIT study published in Geophysical research study Letters, they may be altering rainfall. "While the is true that total precipitation change is controlled by average an international temperature change, ... Ours research mirrors that aerosols have actually significantly affected the circulation of precipitation readjust around the world since preindustrial times," claimed Chien Wang, a an elderly research scientist at the MIT Joint regime on the Science and also Policy of an international Change and the MIT department of Earth, Atmospheric and also Planetary Sciences.

NASA describes how aerosols can affect the rain:

“Aerosols are thought come suppress precipitation because the particles decrease the dimension of water droplets in clouds. However, under some environmental conditions, aerosols have the right to lead to higher clouds that are more likely to create lightning and solid downpours. In a couple of places, meteorologists have also detected a bike in i beg your pardon the frequency of thunderstorms is linked to mid-week peaks in aerosol emissions.”

Many people associate aerosol sprays with damaging the ozone layer. However companies eliminated ozone-depleting chemicals, also known together chlorofluorocarbons (CFC), earlier in the ‘70s. Many aerosol assets made or offered in the U.S. Currently use propellants — such together hydrocarbons and compressed gases choose nitrous oxide — that carry out not deplete the ozone layer.

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However, that doesn’t make aerosols safe. Every time friend spritz one aerosol, friend raise your carbon footprint since they contain hydrocarbon and compressed gasses. In fact, today’s CFC-free aerosols additionally emit VOCs that add to ground-level ozone levels, a crucial cog in asthma-inducing smog.