Tuesday, October 6, 2020

MLM Absurdities: Does essential oil diffusion actually clean the air?

There was a series of wildfires in California in recent weeks, and the air quality around SF Bay Area suffered as a result. The woo peddlers and the oil slick huns decided to use this opportunity to push pseudo-science, such as the idea that "diffusing essential oil will clean the air". 

Here is one example: 

Smoky House? Helpful tip: simmer pot of water on stove w/ 
cedar, fir, thyme, sage, or rosemary (or any combo of them!)
it attaches to smoke particles pulling to the ground to help clean the air and make it more breathable
Add drops of peppermint oil every 20 minutes for extra soothing relief

Note the specific claims, and alleged mechanism "attaches to smoke particles pulling to the ground to help clean the air". 

If you google "essential oil clean air", there's no surprise you'll find doTerra on top of the list. 

However, the mechanism was not discussed. 

Doesn't stop others from making vague generalizations though. Some even used pseudo-science babble... 

Let's go through the claims one at a time, shall we? 

Myth: "Essential Oil Clean the Air"

Reality: FALSE. 

Think about it. How do you use essential oil? You use a diffuser on it. You are ADDING more (supposedly natural) "volatile organic compounds" (VOC) into the air. How can that "clean" the air at all? 

Myth: "Diffused essential oil can clean by air by bonding to smoke"

Reality: FALSE

A study in 2007 called "The effects of evaporating essential oils on indoor air quality" found no difference in particulate matter (which is what smoke particles are) before and after essential oil diffusion. 

Myth: "Essential Oil can kill bacteria and fungus in the air"

Reality: Only for 30-60 minutes

Same study as above stated, "the anti-microbial activity on airborne microbes, an effect claimed by the use of many essential oils, could only be found at the first 30–60 min after the evaporation began"

The same study also found that CO2 (carbon dioxide), CO (carbon monoxide), and VOC (volatile organic compounds) increased significantly. 

The conclusion is undeniable: diffusing essential oil only covers up the smell of smoke. It will make your indoor air WORSE, not better. 

And now you know the truth. 

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