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P2 House - Bedroom

Pollution Prevention (P2) House


Revised On: April 30, 2024 - 8:20 a.m.

Since we spend a significant amount of time in the bedroom (at least six hours daily on average), some of the most important changes can be made in this space to help protect your health and the environment.


Fragrance is an umbrella term that describes natural or synthetic chemicals used as a perfume agent. Fragrances in cosmetics must meet the exact requirement for safety as other cosmetic ingredients. The law does not require FDA approval before they go on the market, but they must be safe for consumers when they are used according to labeled directions or as people customarily use them. Companies and individuals who manufacture or market cosmetics are legally responsible for ensuring they are safe and properly labeled. Learn more about FDA requirements | View Website >

Did you know that some types of fragrances and candles can harm your health and the environment if not used as directed? Many contain an assortment of chemicals, including phthalates and cancer-causing and endocrine-disrupting agents. When these items are disposed of down the drain, the chemicals end up in water streams where they can bio-accumulate in the fatty tissues of aquatic organisms and disrupt marine ecosystems. The production of these products also creates hazardous wastes that must be managed and disposed of properly.  There are downloadable phone applications that can help you navigate chemical ingredient lists. Scan the item, and the app will generate a list of the ingredients and potential interactions.

Fragrance-free vs.Unscented: Fragrance-free means the product does not use fragrance materials or masking scents. Unscented generally means that the product may contain chemicals that neutralize or mask the odors of other ingredients. Visit the EPA’s Product Page and use the fragrance-free check box to find Safer Choice-labeled fragrance-free products | View Website >


Fragrances can be found in almost any product from detergents and air fresheners to linen sprays. To avoid toxic aerosols, consider creating homemade alternatives using essential oils. Many websites provide recipes for do-it-yourself fragrances and scents for home cleaning and deodorizing. Consider introducing indoor plants as well, as these help purify the air.


Aromatherapy in the bedroom can reduce stress and create a relaxing environment. Instead of using chemical-laden aerosols for aromatherapy or to neutralize odors, consider using essential oil diffusers. Essential oils offer a variety of scents extracted from plants, such as leaves, roots, stalks, or flowers. Available in various sizes and designs, diffusers release these fragrances into the air.

Personal Care Products

Personal care products, including lotions, perfumes and even pharmaceuticals, often contain petroleum-derived ingredients and include synthetic agents and toxic substances to ourselves and other organisms. Some of these chemicals have been known to enter aquatic systems, as they persist through wastewater treatment and enter the environment via groundwater and surface water. We must be aware of the potential dangers of emerging contaminants, particularly those that contain endocrine disruptors (EDCs). These compounds can affect the normal functions of our hormones, endocrine system, and aquatic life. Although these contaminants may not exhibit high toxicity levels in the short term, they have been found to have severe negative impacts on reproductive health, even at low levels of exposure. It is vital that we take the necessary steps to address these potential hazards and ensure the safety of ourselves and the environment. According to the EPA: New technological developments have improved detecting and quantifying Pharmaceuticals and Personal Care Products in water, sediments, and fish tissue. However, despite recent advances in Pharmaceuticals and Personal Care Products research, the full extent, magnitude, and consequences of their presence in aquatic environments still need to be discovered | Learn More > 

It is our responsibility to refrain from releasing chemicals into the environment and remain informed about the products purchased for personal use. To avoid potentially harmful chemicals:

  • Research products. Read labels and familiarize yourself with the ingredients. The California Safe Cosmetics Program Product Database collects data from cosmetic products that contain ingredients known or suspected to cause cancer, birth defects or other reproductive harm. Visit the website to learn more about chemical ingredients in your products and how they affect your health | View Database >
  • Be wary of product labels. Products labeled “organic” or “natural” can be misleading. United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)-certified organic seals indicate that 95 percent or more of the ingredients are organic. A product that claims to be organic without the USDA-certified seal is probably not made with more than 95 percent of organic ingredients | Learn More >
  • Select items with fewer toxic chemicals. Choose products with a simple list of natural ingredients such as oatmeal, green tea or plant extracts.
  • Make your own products. Find recipes for homemade lotions, facial cleansers, sugar scrubs and body oils.


Because paraffin candles are petroleum products, burning a paraffin candle releases toxins into the air. Volatile organic compounds (VOCs), such as alkenes, acetone, benzene, and toluene, are believed to cause allergies, asthma attacks, skin irritation, respiratory tract infections, etc. Paraffin wax, when burned, also produces particulate matter that can collect in the lungs. Artificially scented candles contain other chemicals that can be harmful when burned. To determine if your favorite candle contains toxic chemicals, read labels and research unfamiliar chemicals. For a safer alternative, look for unscented, non-toxic, clean-burning candles made with all-natural products such as palm wax or beeswax. Remove pollutants in the air by investing in an air purifier, and don’t forget to change your HVAC filter once a month! You can also improve the air quality of your home by opening windows and adding indoor plants. Plants like Dracaena trifasciata, commonly known as Snake Plant, are one example of house plants capable of storing oxygen during the day and releasing it at night. Plants can remove formaldehyde, benzene, xylene, and trichloroethylene from the air. Most air fresheners DO NOT purify the air and are loaded with “deodorizing agents.” Deodorizing agents are non-specified ingredients that could hide other ingredients known to cause damage to the skin, reproductive system, and other organs. Avoid candles with unknown “fragrance,” an umbrella term that may contain hundreds of additional chemicals.

Moth Balls

Moth balls contain ingredients (either naphthalene or paradichlorobenzene) that become a gas when exposed to air, producing a scent that is harmful to moths. However, these pesticides and chemicals, such as naphthalene, are also considered toxic to humans by the EPA. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classified naphthalene as a possible carcinogen to humans and animals. As an alternative to the toxic variety, consider purchasing cedar moth balls or making your own non-toxic sachets by using all-natural ingredients, such as dried lavender flowers, rosemary, cloves, cinnamon sticks or cedar shavings. There are several recipes for homemade alternatives available online.