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Paints and perfumes source of air pollution

Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from household cleaners, paints, perfumes and other consumer products have become a substantial source of urban air pollution as stricter controls on vehicles have gradually reduced road traffic emissions, according to a new study.

VOCs react with other air pollutants to create ground-level ozone and they also contribute to the formation of fine particulate matter (PM2.5). Both of these air pollutants are significant health hazards, particularly in urban areas where emissions tend to be highest.

The researchers found that emission inventories in the United States underestimate non-methane VOC emissions from these products by a factor of two to three, and say that the “use of volatile chemical products – including pesticides, coatings, printing inks, adhesives, cleaning agents, and personal care products – now constitutes half of fossil fuel VOC emissions in industrialised cities.”

The article “Volatile chemical products emerging as largest petrochemical source of urban organic emissions.” Published in Science on 16 February 2018. Link:


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