It's emails like this that make me glad to be at Stanford and worried for our existence.
Fall Quarter 2010-2011
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
12:15-1:10pm, Location Y2E2 Room 111
--- Feel free to bring your lunch!! Small snacks provided! ---
Hidden Hazards: Volatile Organic Compound Emissions from Fragranced Consumer Products
Professor, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
Professor, Evans School of Public Affairs
University of Washington
Climate, Atmospheric Science, and Physical Oceanography
Scripps Institution of Oceanography
University of California, San Diego
Most exposure to volatile organic compounds (VOCs) typically occurs indoors, and from common consumer products. Fragranced products, in particular, can emit a variety of VOCs. Relatively little is known, however, about emissions from these products, due to lack of prior study, complexity of formulations, and limitations and protections on ingredient disclosure in the U.S. This study investigated VOCs emitted from 25 widely used fragranced consumer products—laundry products, personal care products, cleaning supplies, and air fresheners—using headspace analysis with gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC/MS). The analysis found 133 different VOCs emitted from the 25 products, with an average of 17 VOCs per product. Of these 133 VOCs, 24 are classified as toxic or hazardous under U.S. federal laws, and each product emitted at least one of these compounds. For “green” products, emissions of these compounds were not significantly different from the other products. Of all VOCs identified across the products, only 1 was listed on any product label, and only 2 were listed on any material safety data sheet (MSDS). While virtually none of the chemicals identified were listed, this nonetheless accords with U.S. regulations, which do not require disclosure of all ingredients in a consumer product, or of any ingredients in a mixture called “fragrance.”
Results indicate a need for improved understanding of emissions from fragranced products, their links with labeling and legislation, and their potential effects on human and environmental health.