Fragranced Consumer Products as Sources

Nigel Goodman, Neda Nematollahi

Research output: A Conference proceeding or a Chapter in BookChapterpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Fragrance is used in consumer products around the world. However, fragrance has been associated with adverse effects on indoor and outdoor air quality and human health. Fragranced consumer products can emit and generate potentially hazardous compounds including formaldehyde and fine particulate matter. This chapter focuses on the volatile compounds emitted from fragranced consumer products as reported in laboratory headspace analysis, environmental chambers experiments, and measurements of volatile compounds within indoor environments. First, the chapter provides information on the methods for measurement of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) emitted from products, the volatile compounds (i.e., VOCs and aldehydes) detected in environmental chamber studies, and the volatile compounds detected within indoor environments. Second, it analyzes and synthesizes data findings and research findings on product ingredients, emissions, and indoor air quality. Third, the chapter offer strategies and methods to improve indoor air quality. Key findings and results from the synthesis are as follows. Headspace analysis of fragrance consumer products revealed that terpenes were present in all fragranced products tested, but absent in all fragrancefree products tested. Environmental chamber experiments demonstrated that terpenes are among the most prevalent (and reactive) ingredients in fragranced consumer products, and that they readily react with other chemicals (e.g., ozone) to generate a range of secondary and potentially hazardous pollutants, including formaldehyde. Indoor air quality surveys (i.e., large population-based studies and targeted studies) revealed the terpenes were among the most frequently detected VOCs in offices, homes, and other everyday environments. These findings suggest that exposure to primary and secondary pollutants from fragranced consumer products is ongoing, and that risk assessment and management would be advantageous. Studies also demonstrated that approaches to improve indoor air quality can be relatively straightforward and effective. For instance, fragranced products can be removed or replaced by fragrance-free alternatives, almost entirely reducing terpene emissions. Finally, fragrance-free policies offer a beneficial, longer-term, and larger-scale solution to improve indoor air quality.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHandbook of Indoor Air Quality
EditorsYinping Zhang, Philip K. Hopke, Corinne Mandin
Place of PublicationSingapore
PublisherSpringer Nature Singapore
Number of pages33
ISBN (Electronic)9789811676802
ISBN (Print)9789811676796
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2022
Externally publishedYes


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