Animal Writes
28 March 1999 Issue
Dangers in Febreze and Pot Scrubbers

Those yellow sponges with the green plastic fibers on the back for scrubbing
pots -- "Pot Scrubbers"- should be kept far away from our birds, fish, reptiles,
cats and dogs, hamsters and whatever. Proctor & Gamble, in its continuing
search to make America look clean and smell great, has a new "improved"
version of the sponge on the market that kills odor causing fungi that get in the
sponge after a few uses. They make a big deal out of this innovation on the
outside packaging. A friend of mine used one of these sponges to clean the
glass on a 200 gallon aquarium. The abrasive backs are good for removing
algae and smutz that collect on the inside of the tank. He refilled the tank and
after the water had time to condition and rid itself of chlorine, he reintroduced
his tropical fish collection of some 30 fish. Within five hours of putting the fish
back in the tank, they were all dead!

Some began to die after only 30 minutes. He removed the survivors to another
tank but they all died. Retracing his steps to clean the tank, the only thing that
was different was using that new kind of sponge -- he'd used the regular old
Pot Scrubbers for years. Lo and behold I discovered on the back of the
packaging in about the finest print you could put on plastic, a description of the
fungicide (Triclosan) in the sponge and the warning in tiny boldface letters,
"Not for use in aquariums. Keep away from other pets."

Thanks for the warning Proctor & Gamble.

It seems the fungicide is a derivative of the systemic pesticide-herbicide,
2-4-D, more popularly known as Agent Orange, the chemical we sprayed all
over Southeast Asian during the Vietnam War that many veterans and war
refugees say did them permanent damage to their lungs and nervous systems.
The package warning goes on to say they fungicide cannot be washed from
the sponge even if it is placed in the dishwasher (in which case Agent Orange
is now all over your dishes and drinking glasses). And, if you think it's there to
kill disease-causing bacteria like Salmonella from contaminated chicken meat,
think again -- it's not an effective enough bactericide to kill those kind of bugs.
By the way, the same chemical in the sponge (Triclosan), is used now in many
of those popular antibacterial, anti viral disinfectant liquid soaps (Ultra Dawn
Antibacterial dishwashing soap) and hand cleaners that are flooding the market.

Here is more:

Febreze Is Dangerous to Pets! There have been multiple instances of dogs
and birds who have died or became very ill after being exposed to Febreze, a
deodorizer/air freshener.

Febreze contains zinc chloride, which is very dangerous for animals. Please
do not use Febreze anywhere near your pets! If you have used it near your
pets or on their bedding, clean the bedding/area thoroughly to remove the
Febreze, and move the animals away from the area. Please pass this
information on to other pet owners/caretakers, before more animals are injured
or killed, and find a safer method of odor control.

Febreze: This product is marketed as something that removes odors without
covering them up. However, there is a strong smell to it, but worse than that,
Febreze contains zinc chloride. Many birds have already been killed after this
product was used in any proximity to them whatsoever, and some dogs have
also died. Other dogs have become ill without dying. This product is marketed
as safe around animals, and people have sprayed their dogs' bedding to
remove the doggy smell, only to discover later on that their dog became deathly
ill from it. There is one dog who lost most of her hair after being accidentally
sprayed with some Febreze, though this particular incident also had a second
factor involved (diet change). The Febreze bottle, as of December 1998, has a
picture on the back of a dog, which leads some people to believe it's safe to use
in their bedding.


This is from a friend of mine at UVA - her dog died and this is what the vet had
to say. If you have a cat or bird, FEBREZE (odor spray) is TOXIC!!!! This has
been confirmed by a vet. It will kill your animal. A friend's dog died unexpec-
tedly and the vet strongly suspects this product as well.

Source: [email protected]

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