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My Best Feelings are Natural – Not Synthetic

By Paige Wolf, Author, Mother & Safer Chemicals blogger

You may have seen the latest campaign from Glade air fresheners – “inspired by the best feelings in the world.” Just follow their hashtag #bestfeelings on Twitter to play along with their social media campaign.

“The scent of #peaceful is a smoky chimney in the winter breeze. #bestfeelings

“Whether it’s inside or out, the scent of pine will make your moments #peaceful. #bestfeelings

#Optimism smells like your pillow on your day off.” OK, that one just doesn’t make any sense.

As the brand page waxes poetic,

Glade has always been about inspiring people through scent.
And scent makes us feel like nothing else can.
We realize that today, we need scent more than ever:
Scents that shift our feelings;
Scents that carry us away;
Scents that make us feel a world of emotions.

Welcome to your best feelings, inspired by your favorite fragrances. Take a look around and find your best fragrance and feeling connection. We hope you’ll check back often for new products, inspiring seasonal fragrances, and ideas for living a more fragrant life .”

I don’t know about you, but my best feelings usually don’t come from a chemical fragrance induced migraine or asthma attack. Personally, I prefer the smell of real lemons, fresh flowers – quite honestly, even a dirty diaper!

storeshelfThis, in my opinion, is just another clever marketing campaign duping consumers while messing with the planet and our health.

In May 2013, 52,000 consumers asked Glade to disclose the fragrance ingredients in its products. Thus far, the SC Johnson’s only response has been, “Consumers have a choice whether or not to buy products that contain fragrance.” Awesome.

Meanwhile, SC Johnson, Glade’s parent company, can’t seem to emphasize enough how dedicated they are to “honesty” and “transparency.” You may have seen the company’s CEO in TV commercials talking about how the company discloses ingredients “right down to the dyes and fragrances.” (Even better, watch a funny spoof video on their ad campaign.)

Here’s the deal: Glade did release a master list of nearly 1,500 chemicals they use in all of their fragranced products – but they don’t tell you which chemicals are in which products.

(Photo Credit: Paige takes a picture of Glade products at CVS)

Here are just a few:

(from Women’s Voices for the Earth)

  • Synthetic musks: potential hormone disruptors which are bioaccumulative and may break down the body’s defenses against other toxic exposures. These chemicals are showing up in our blood and breast milk.
  • All 26 of the allergens currently disclosed on SCJ product labels in the European Union (EU). SCJ doesn’t disclose these allergens on product labels in the US because they are not required to by law.
  • Several additional allergens, which have been deemed of concern in the EU.
  • Several chemicals of concern identified by an EU panel as having no publicly available human safety data.
  • Terpenes, which can react with ground level ozone in the air to form cancer-causing formaldehyde.
  • Petroleum – the same compound in gasoline.

WVE also did independent testing of Glade products that revealed the presence of phthalates, which the company committed to phase out two years before (SC Johnson claimed this was a contamination issue.) According to Cassidy Randall from WVE:

One study in the U.K. of 14,000 pregnant women showed a link between the use of air fresheners and aerosol sprays and an increase in headaches and depression in the mothers, as well as ear infections and diarrhea in their babies. In homes where air fresheners and aerosol sprays were used on most days, women experienced 25% more headaches and 19% more post-natal depression than women in homes where such products were used less than once a week. Babies under six months old who were exposed to air fresheners on most days had 30% more ear infections and a 22% greater chance of diarrhea than babies exposed less than once a week[1].

Best feelings indeed.

As I can personally attest, sense of smell can significantly improve once chemical fragrances are eliminated from your lifestyle. On the plus side, roses and oranges have never smelled so sweet. On the minus side, now the once beloved smell of Chanel Mademoiselle gives me a headache and I can smell a cigarette from a mile away.

Here are a few more takes on the dangers of conventional air fresheners:

Air Freshener Danger: A Breath of Death Air, Eluxe Magazine

Tell Glade Its Time To Stop Keeping Toxic Secrets, Groovy Green Livin

Is Glade Air Freshener Bad for Babies?, Big Green Purse

Toxic Air Freshner, Natural Resources Defense Council

Replacing Your Artificial Frangrances, Whole Living

And here are a few alternatives to fragranced cleaning products:

Alternatives to Fragranced Cleaning Products, Women’s Voices For The Earth

So as I attempt to keep a basil plant alive, snuggle in to fragrance-free sheets, and learn to love the scent of white vinegar, I enjoy some of the best feelings out there.

And I will fight to protect the people I love from toxic chemicals, with every once of energy I have. There are two very important ways you can join me in this fight.

  1. Ask Glade to stop keeping toxic secrets.
  2. Urge the nation’s top ten retailers to get serious about toxic chemicals


Paige Wolf is the owner of Paige Wolf Media and Public Relations, a B Corporation certified eco-friendly PR firm focused on sustainable clientele, and the author of Spit That Out! The Overly Informed Parent’s Guide to Raising Children in the Age of Environmental Guilt. She lives in Philadelphia with her husband, two children, and American Hairless Terrier. Visit for her blog on making green living practical, manageable, and affordable.