Cleaning products can expose people to pollution at the same rate as cars, the study says.

Cleaning products can expose people to pollution at the same rate as cars, the study says.

Cleaning products can expose people to pollution particles at the same rate as car exhaust, study warns

  • Scientists conducted real-time observations in real indoor conditions.
  • They used a commercial surface cleaner when measuring the amount of chemicals.
  • Study has implications for people who have worked with Covid-19 disinfectants

Cleaning products have become more common than ever over the past two years, but a new study suggests their use may come with health risks.

US researchers conducted real-time observations in “realistic indoor environments” that mimic the work of professional house cleaners.

They found that commercial interior cleaners can leave fine particles of contaminants in a person’s respiratory tract at a rate equal to or faster than aerosols from vehicles.

The new findings may have implications for people who have worked hard with disinfectant sprays during the Covid pandemic.

Some employees spend entire workdays frequently spraying office surfaces to prevent transmission of SARS-CoV-2.

The new findings, published in the journal Science Advances, may have implications for people who have worked with disinfectant sprays during the Covid pandemic (file image)

The new findings, published in the journal Science Advances, may have implications for people who have worked with disinfectant sprays during the Covid pandemic (file image)

HOUSEHOLD AEROSOLS RELEASE MORE HARMFUL CHEMICAL SMOG THAN GREAT CARS

A 2021 study found that household aerosols now emit more harmful volatile organic compounds (VOCs) than all vehicles in the UK.

In 2017, the UK population emitted about 60,000 tons of VOCs from aerosols, but only about 30,000 tons from British petrol-powered cars.

But even with all modes of road transport in the country — not just cars, but motorcycles, vans, trucks and buses — aerosols still emit more volatile organic compounds, the authors say.

Read more: Household aerosols emit more harmful chemicals than British cars

The study was led by Colleen Rosales, an environmental scientist at the University of California, Davis, and published today in the journal Science Advances.

Scientists know that cleaning interior surfaces with disinfectants can lead to the formation of secondary pollutants in the room in the form of gases and aerosols.

But there have been several studies documenting the formation of secondary organic aerosols in real indoor conditions.

Secondary organic aerosol (SOA) is a molecule obtained by oxidizing a parent organic molecule over several generations.

“SOA accounts for the bulk of the global atmospheric aerosol load,” says Professor Annele Virtanen, an atmospheric scientist at the University of Eastern Finland, who was not involved in the study.

“Therefore, understanding the formation mechanism and properties of SOA is important to assess its impact on climate, air quality, and human health.”

To learn more about indoor SOA formation, the US team focused on monoterpenes, a class of volatile organic compounds (VOCs).

Monoterpenes are isolated from a wide variety of sources, including cooking, foods, plants, and many types of flavored foods.

Indoors, monoterpenes can mix with ozone to form particles that can enter the lungs.

Road transport is a source of both greenhouse gases and air pollutants, contributing significantly to emissions of carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxides and fine particulate matter.

Road transport is a source of both greenhouse gases and air pollutants, contributing significantly to emissions of carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxides and fine particulate matter.

WHAT IS LOS?

Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are emitted as gases from certain solid or liquid substances.

VOCs include a variety of chemicals, some of which may have short and long term adverse health effects.

Concentrations of many volatile organic compounds are ten times higher indoors than outdoors.

VOCs are emitted by a wide range of products, numbering in the thousands.

Sources of VOCs in the home include aerosol sprays, cleaners and disinfectants, moth repellants, air fresheners, and car products.

Other sources include building materials and furniture, office equipment such as copiers and printers, indelible markers, correction fluids, carbonless transfer paper, and craft supplies including adhesives and adhesives.

The team used a commercial monoterpene-based household cleaner to wash surfaces in a mechanically ventilated indoor test room in a research building in a forested area for 12–14 minutes.

While the floor was mopped, the researchers measured gas-phase precursors, oxidizers, radicals, secondary oxidation products, and aerosols in real time.

They calculated that a person using a monoterpene-based cleaner first inhales 30 to 40 micrograms of the primary volatile organic compound per minute when they start mopping the floor.

Since secondary organic aerosols are formed when the product interacts with indoor air, a person will inhale from 0.1 to 0.7 micrograms of these particles per minute.

The authors suggest that maintaining background indoor ozone levels below 1 ppb before washing floors can minimize the buildup of pollutant particles.

The VOCs currently used in aerosols are less harmful than the ozone depleting chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) they replaced in the 1980s.

CFCs, which are classified as halocarbons, damage the earth’s protective ozone layer, which protects us from harmful ultraviolet radiation from the sun.

Recognizing the dangers of CFCs, the Montreal Protocol was adopted in 1987, leading to their phase-out and, more recently, the first signs of restoration of the Antarctic ozone layer.

Scientists warn that household aerosols, including deodorants and cleaning sprays, emit more harmful chemicals each year than all VEHICLES in the UK.

The study found that household aerosols now emit more harmful volatile organic compounds (VOCs) than all vehicles in the UK.

In 2017, the UK population emitted about 60,000 tons of VOCs from aerosols, but only about 30,000 tons from British petrol-powered cars.

But even taking into account all modes of road transport in the country – not just cars, but also motorcycles, vans, trucks and buses – aerosols still emit more volatile organic compounds, experts say.

VOCs are a large group of odorous chemicals, many of which are emitted by cleaning and cosmetic products, fuel combustion, and cooking.

Exposure to certain volatile organic compounds has been associated with chronic health effects, including lung disease, liver and kidney damage, nerve problems, and cancer.

“Virtually all aerosol-based consumer products can be supplied in non-aerosol form, such as dry or roll-on deodorants, polish strips, rather than spray,” said study author Professor Alastair Lewis of the University of York’s Chemistry Department.

“Small changes to what we buy can make a big difference in both outdoor and indoor air quality, and relatively little impact on our lives.”

Read more: Household aerosols emit more harmful chemicals than British cars

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