Did You Know Household Products Can Increase Air Pollution?

Written by: Yuvika Iyer

Published on: Nov 22, 2019

Did You Know Household Products Can Increase Air Pollution?

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I bet you are aware about the impact of vehicles and industrial manufacturing facilities on air pollution. But did you know that consumer products could also be equally guilty when it comes to air quality?

A recent study by ScienceNews came up with shocking results of how these everyday products are contaminating our air. Today, I’ll be shedding some light on the topic and the findings of the study.

So, stay tuned!

Consumer Products Contribute to Air Pollution

Researchers focused on the presence of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in the air in Los Angeles city. They are generated from petroleum when it evaporates into the air. They are chemical derivatives and inhaling them is harmful to your health.

They did this study over a period of six weeks in the city, that is known for having smog. The study was done on both indoor and outdoor air quality. The researchers traced the VOCs to the polluting particles that actually came from the regular usage of consumer products at home.

Their usage ended up polluting the air up to 15% more than the pollution generated by oil fuels or natural gas.

Types of Consumer Products

Everyday consumer products emitted volatile organic compounds, which pollutes the air in the long term. Just a small dab of perfume or body spray won’t be harmful for anyone. But when you are using these products daily along with millions of other people, it can add up very quickly. Let take a look at a few of the guilty products:

  • Paint
  • Glue
  • Cleaning Sprays
  • Shampoo
  • Hand Sanitizer
  • Disinfectant Wipes
  • Perfume
  • Laundry Detergent
  • Air Fresheners
  • Deodorant
  • Hairspray

Impact of the Emissions on the Climate

Well, consumer goods only have a tiny portion of the overall usage. It only contributes to 4% usage where Natural gas has 41%, Gasoline fuel has 47%, and Diesel fuel adds to 8%. But with this small 4% usage, it contributes to 38% VOC emission in the air.

Type of ProductUsage %VOC Contribution %
Consumer Products4%38%
Natural Gas41%19%
Gasoline47%13%
Diesel8%1%

VOC regulations do vary by state and country but typically consumer products are regulated only for indoor level pollution. Their effect on the global environment is not monitored or regulated. Indoor air pollution slowly grows and ends up adversely contributing the outdoor air pollution too.

Final Thoughts

Not every VOC is the same, and that’s why each one reacts differently to the environment. So, we still need to know which VOCs contribute to fine particles of PM 2.5 that is the most harmful.

At the end of the day, reducing the use of everyday consumer products may be difficult but I am sure that we will give priority to making the air we breathe, fresh and pure.

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