Published: Fri, February 16, 2018
Business | By Max Garcia

Paints And Cleaning Products Now Match Cars For Urban Pollution

Paints And Cleaning Products Now Match Cars For Urban Pollution

"You wear perfume or use scented products so that you or your neighbor can enjoy the aroma". He's a researcher with the University of Colorado working in the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's, or NOAA, Chemical Sciences Division.

"What's exciting about this work is that it shows that everyday consumer choices can have an impact on air quality in the US", said Christopher Cappa, professor of civil and environmental engineering at UCD and a co-author on the paper.

"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. "In all of these instances, we are waiting for these volatile chemical products to evaporate".

By weight, people use about 15 times more fuel in their vehicles than petroleum-based products.

An analysis of air pollution in Los Angeles by scientists revealed that half of the volatile organic compounds (VOCs) found to be present, came from household products.

It may not seem like it, but this is partially good news.

The study said that as cars have gotten cleaner, the VOCs forming those pollution particles are coming increasingly from consumer products.

"Gasoline is stored in closed, hopefully airtight, containers and the VOCs in gasoline are burned for energy", Gilman said.

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"The ambient levels of these hydrocarbons have decreased by a factor of 50 over the last 50 years. You don't do this with gasoline", Gilman said.

But the study team also found that levels of other less commonly measured VOC gases, such as ethanol and acetone, were both higher than expected and had been increasing during the same period of time, Gilman said.

Emissions from vehicles are often dubbed as the main source of air pollution in urban areas across the world but a study released on Thursday has said consumer and industrial products are a "dominant urban air pollution source".

The disproportionate air quality impact of chemical product emissions is partly because of a fundamental difference between those products and fuels.

Based on these findings, air quality models "must be adapted to capture the changing pattern of emissions", Alastair Lewis, a professor of atmospheric chemistry at the University of York in England, wrote in an accompanying editorial.

They add that these inventories likely also overestimate the motor vehicle sources.

Anthony Frew, a professor of respiratory medicine at Brighton & Sussex Medical School in the United Kingdom commented: "This research is a useful reminder that discussions of air pollution need to consider all sources of pollutants and that measures targeting cars only address part of the problem".

According to the study, the use of household products could therefore make it harder for countries in Europe and America hit their targets, even if they are making headway with tackling traffic fumes.

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