Odorants ("Air Fresheners") and ill- health

In 1979 a patient informed me that she had recovered form an acute state of anxiety and depression when she removed a solid block toilet deodorant from her house. In 1985 I published (see below) a series of 89 patients who had recovered from "dizziness" (feelings of unreality), mild nausea, upset emotions, insomnia and headache after purging their homes of all perfumes. There are sound theoretical explanations for why this should be so.

The ALSPAC study published 19.10.04 gives statistical backing for the hypothesis that odorants may cause neuropsychological dysfunction. They found a connection with infantile diarrhoea and earache, and maternal headache and depression (Farrow A, Taylor H, Northstone K, Golding J, ALSPAC Study Team. Symptoms of Mothers and Infants related to Total Volatile Organic Compounds in Household Products. Archives of Environmental Health 2003:58; 633-641)

Anyone who suffers any of the above symptoms would be well advised to try the effect of having a couple of weeks avoiding perfumes of all kinds, especially the so-called "fresh" perfumes. They should also avoid all aerosols, whether perfumed or not.

Manufacturers should provide people with odorant low or odorant-free consumables.

Including the Body Shop. It is likely that all perfumes may be involved, whether natural or synthetic..


Lawson RH. Is there an air freshener syndrome? Bristol Med Chir J 1985; Jan.:10-3
Lawson RH Air freshener perfumes. Psychiatric Bull 1992;16:173.

© 2001 R. Lawson This page was last updated on 13.11.04