Woman says air fresheners, candles, perfumes are bad for your lungs

@.litlbbyc/TikTok Pixel-Shot/ShutterStock (Licensed)

‘Unfortunately, I will keep using all of these’: Woman says plug-in air fresheners, candles, perfumes are bad for your lungs

‘I stopped using all those years ago…EXCEPT perfume and cologne.’


Braden Bjella


Unpleasant smells can make life deeply uncomfortable. Whether you live in an apartment above a restaurant, have a particularly stinky roommate, or just have a smell lingering in your home that you can’t identify, a negative odor can immeasurably decrease one’s quality of life.

To solve this problem, many employ the use of air fresheners or scented candles. While these may seem like a valid solution, some have reported issues with the products.

For example, one woman claimed that a car air freshener from Bath and Body Works ended up sending her to the emergency room; another said that their air freshener made its way through her 1-inch granite countertop and stained the wood underneath. A further internet user simply advised about the various health warnings listed on an air freshener.

Now, another internet user has sparked a discussion after alleging that plug-in air fresheners could harm one’s lungs.

A woman warns to stay away from scented products

In a video with over 1.7 million views as of Saturday, TikTok user Christina (@.litlbbyc) issues a warning to anyone who uses “air fresheners, scented candles, conventional laundry detergent, fabric softener, perfume, cologne and aftershave.”

She then proceeds to read from a book entitled Medical Medium Cleanse to Heal by Anthony William.

“’These chemically scented, vaporized poisons hurt the lungs—their waxy, oily residue builds up in the lung sacs. If you’re someone who doesn’t smoke and yet you love plug-in air fresheners, you’re better off removing your plug-in air freshener and starting to smoke. That’s right; you actually have a better chance of longer-lasting health and vitality without complicated diseases if you smoke cigarettes than if you breathe plug-in air fresheners day in and day out,’” she reads.

“The oily film from air freshener doesn’t only affect the lungs. It also ends up in the liver when it enters the bloodstream from the lungs. Plus we swallow air freshener when we breathe it in through our mouth, and that brings it to the intestinal tract, from which it enters the bloodstream and heads to the liver as well,” the passage continues. “Air freshener residue in that organ can reduce liver function. If a really inquisitive surgeon opened up the body of a patient who had lived for years in a space highly saturated with air freshener, that surgeon would smell the air freshener scent seeping out of the patient’s blood and cells.”

She goes on to quote a portion that alleges synthetic scents can harm one’s immune system.

“So the next time you wanna buy a cute little air freshener to put in your room or your house or your car, just think about everything,” the TikToker states.


this book is insane😭not gonna stop using perfume tho!!

♬ original sound – .litlbbyc

Is it true?

For background, Anthony William, the author of the book, is not a doctor or other “formally licensed health care practitioner or provider.” He is a self-proclaimed “chronic illness expert” who, per his website, “was born with the unique ability to converse with the Spirit of Compassion, who provides him with extraordinarily advanced healing medical information that’s far ahead of its time.”

The portion of the book from which the TikToker is reading does not appear to contain any citations for its claims. That said, there is some data to suggest that air fresheners may not be the best for one’s health, just not to the extent suggested by William.

“Over 75 percent of air fresheners graded by the Environmental Working Group, a Washington-based nonprofit that focuses on research and advocacy, contain either ‘likely’ or ‘potentially significant’ hazards to health or the environment based on concerns posed by exposure to their ingredients,” writes Amudalat Ajasa for the Washington Post. “The group’s assessment also took into account whether makers of the products disclosed the ingredients in them.”

As a result, “the EPA recommends cutting back on the use of products with strong fragrances — especially in indoor areas with poor ventilation,” Ajasa states. “The agency also suggests minimizing the use of sprays that spread scents throughout an area.”

As far as William’s specific claims are concerned, while there is data to suggest that prolonged air freshener use could have deleterious effects on human health, the idea that cigarettes give those “a better chance of longer-lasting health and vitality without complicated diseases” than air freshener appears unsubstantiated.

With regards to William’s claims about the “air freshener residue” having the potential to “reduce liver function,” two studies explored the effects of air fresheners on mice and rats. Both studies found that air fresheners negatively impacted the liver, though it is inadvisable to suggest that these studies provide valid data for humans—first, because each air freshener contains difficult chemical makeups, and second, because animal reactions to these compounds may not be the same as humans.

“While epidemiological and toxicity studies reveal links between air freshener emissions and health effects, more research is needed to understand how and why individual ingredients, mixtures of ingredients, or secondary reaction products could be associated with the identified health effects,” writes University of Melbourne Professor of Civil Engineering Anne Steinemann. “In addition, more research is needed to understand the implications of low-level exposures, particularly for vulnerable and sensitive populations.”

Commenters aren’t convinced

While many commenters were shocked by what the TikToker was saying, several admitted that they would not stop using artificial scents.

“Unfortunately I will keep using all of these,” read one highly-favorited comment.

“I can’t give up perfumes, let me smell good even when I’m dead please,” added another.

“I stopped using all those years ago…EXCEPT perfume and cologne,” declared a third. “Sorry I just can’t.”

The Daily Dot reached out to William via website contact form and Christina via Instagram direct message.

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