Emissions from everyday consumer products have been associated with adverse effects on air quality and health. This study investigates volatile organic compounds (VOCs) emitted from 134 common consumer products, both fragranced and fragrance-free, including those with claims of green. Product types include personal care products, air fresheners, cleaning supplies, laundry products, and sunscreens. Using GC/MS headspace analysis, this study found 1538 VOC occurrences (individual ingredients), representing 338 VOC identities (different compounds), emitted from the 134 consumer products. Among the 1538 VOCs, 517 VOCs are classified as potentially hazardous. The most common VOC emitted from the 104 fragranced products was limonene, which was absent in fragrance-free versions. Comparing the green and regular fragranced products, no significant difference was found between the most prevalent potentially hazardous VOCs. Among all volatile ingredients emitted, fewer than 4% were listed on product labels. This study provides extensive findings on volatile emissions from consumer products, which can improve awareness of potential exposures and effects on air quality and health.
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The study received support from the Australian Government Research Training Program Scholarship (RTP), through the University of Melbourne; the Australian Department of Education and Training (Australian Postgraduate Award); and the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO).
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Electronic supplementary material
Supplementary Table 1: VOC identities and prevalences among all products (n=134). Supplementary Table 2: VOC identities and prevalences among all fragranced products (n=104). Supplementary Table 3: VOC identities and prevalences among all regular and green personal care products (n=50). Supplementary Table 4: VOC identities and prevalences among all regular and green air fresheners (n=12). Supplementary Table 5: VOC identities and prevalences among all regular and green cleaning supplies (n=22). Supplementary Table 6: VOC identities and prevalences among all regular and green laundry products (n=20). Supplementary Table 7: VOC identities and prevalences among all regular and green sunscreens (n=15). Supplementary Table 8: VOC identities and prevalences among all regular and green fragrance-free products (n=15) (DOCX 79 kb)
VOC occurrences among regular personal care products (DOC 336 kb)
VOC occurrences among green personal care products (DOC 294 kb)
VOC occurrences among regular air fresheners (DOC 135 kb)
VOC occurrences among green air fresheners (DOC 139 kb)
VOC occurrences among regular cleaning supplies (DOC 177 kb)
VOC occurrences among green cleaning supplies (DOC 157 kb)
VOC occurrences among regular laundry products (DOC 189 kb)
VOC occurrences among green laundry products (DOC 175 kb)
VOC occurrences among regular and green sunscreens (DOC 105 kb)
VOC occurrences among regular and green fragrance-free products (DOC 87 kb)
Potentially hazardous compounds among all 134 products (DOCX 35 kb)
Potentially hazardous compounds among all 104 fragranced products (DOCX 35 kb)
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Nematollahi, N., Kolev, S.D. & Steinemann, A. Volatile chemical emissions from 134 common consumer products. Air Qual Atmos Health 12, 1259–1265 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11869-019-00754-0
- Consumer products
- Volatile organic compounds
- Cleaning products
- Air fresheners