Wednesday, 24 October, 2018

Household products surprisingly make large benefactions to air pollution

About half the petroleum chemicals in L.A.'s smog come from products like soap and paint not cars Household products surprisingly make large benefactions to air pollution
Nellie Chapman | 17 February, 2018, 23:39

Last year, in October, a study by global medical journal "The Lancet", said that in 2015, pollution was the reason behind nine million deaths worldwide-or about one in six.

The results revealed that rather than the split of air pollution sources being 75/25 it was far closer to 50/50.

Everyday items such as soaps, perfume, paint and pesticides now contribute as heavily to certain sorts of air pollution in United States cities as cars and trucks - a finding that surprised even the researchers who made it.

The disproportionate air-quality impact of emissions from chemical products partially stems from a basic difference between those products and fuel, according to co-author Jessica Gilman, an atmospheric scientist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Although people use 15 times more fuel than petroleum-based chemicals, lotions and other household products contribute just as much to low air quality, said the study's lead author Brian McDonald.

In a shocking new revelation, studies find that deodorant and shampoo cause as much air pollution as cars.

The team determined that they could not recreate the levels of ozone or particles measured in the atmosphere unless they added emissions from volatile chemical products.

"As the transportation sector gets cleaner, these other sources of VOCs become more and more important", McDonald said.

Ugo Tadde, a lawyer with ClientEarth, said: "Tackling both indoor and outdoor air pollution is essential".

The findings come as the world slowly moves towards better vehicles with auto manufacturers making pollution-limiting changes to engines, governments pushing cleaner fuels and introducing strict pollution control systems.

In the new study, researchers from the University of Colorado found that the amount of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) emitted by consumer products may be two or three times greater than estimated by current air pollution inventories. As vehicle manufacturers have cleaned up the emissions coming from cars it became clear that the Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) were clearly coming from somewhere else.

"We hope this study spurs collaboration between atmospheric scientists, chemical engineers and public health researchers, to deliver the best science to decision-makers", said McDonald.

While the compounds in gasoline are burned for fuel, researchers say some consumer products, like perfume, are "literally created to evaporate".

"Perfume and other scented products are designed so that you or your neighbor can enjoy the aroma", Gilman said.

Fuel systems minimize the loss of gasoline to evaporation in order to to maximize energy generated by combustion, she said.

The team evaluated air-pollution sources by examining recent chemical production statistics released by regulatory agencies and industries.