A study recently published in the Environmental Journal has found that a selection of scented consumer products emitted more than 100 volatile organic compounds, including some that are classified as hazardous in the USA.
Researchers from the University of Washington tested 25 air fresheners, laundry detergents, fabric softeners, disinfectants, all-purpose cleaners, soaps, hand sanitisers, lotions, deodorants and shampoos.
The researchers detected 133 different volatile organic compounds (VOCs). The most commonly detected were the citrus scent limonene, pine scent pinene, ethanol and acetone.
The fragrances in the products can contain a mixture of hundreds of chemicals, some of which such as limonene react with ozone to form dangerous secondary pollutants, including formaldehyde.
Each product emitted 1-80 toxic or hazardous chemicals. 44% generated carcinogenic hazardous air pollutants. According to the US Environmental Protection Agency hazardous air pollutants have no safe exposure level.
Commenting on the studies findings Liam Moloney, a Naas based Healthcare Solicitor said “we need to be aware that fragranced products may cause adverse health effects. The study strongly suggests that we need to find unscented alternatives for cleaning our homes, laundry and ourselves, and it is recommended that people also use alternatives such as cleaning with vinegar and baking soda”