The ingredients in today's popular car air fresheners vary by manufacturer, but many include chemicals such as benzene, toluene, formaldehyde and phthalates. When exposed to car air fresheners for prolonged periods, these and other chemicals can produce negative health effects.
Car air fresheners like "Little Trees" have been on the market since 1954 and are still popular today. They come in a wide variety of different scents like vanilla, strawberry and pine.
Unfortunately, as popular as car air fresheners have become, studies performed on "Little Trees" and others have proven how harmful the chemicals used to produce the trademark scents can be to those who have prolonged exposure to them. Slight exposure may cause nausea, headaches and in some cases depression. The effects of these chemicals worsens when a person spends a lot of time in a closed car with little air circulation.
Many of the ingredients in car air fresheners are not disclosed due to the fact than many are proprietary recipes. Studies have been done to crack the ingredients, and one study carried out in 2007 revealed that some of the chemicals may disrupt hormone production that affect human reproductive development.
For now, the only folks who need to worry about the effects of the chemicals in car air fresheners are those who spend much of their time riding in an automobile.