Household products contribute more to air pollution than suspected | Science News

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Household products make surprisingly large contributions to air pollution

Consumer products might be next target for air pollution cleanup

By
2:00pm, February 15, 2018
smog over LA

SMOG CITY   Los Angeles, shown here, is one of the smoggiest cities in the United States. That haze of air pollution comes not just from cars, but also from an array of consumer products that emit chemicals into the air.

AUSTIN, Texas — To reduce your impact on air quality, you might expect to trade in your gas-guzzling clunker of a car — but you can also unplug those air fresheners. 

In urban areas, emissions from consumer goods such as paint, cleaning supplies and personal care products now contribute as much to ozone and fine particulate matter in the atmosphere as do emissions from burning gasoline or diesel fuel.

The finding is largely a sign of success, study coauthor Brian McDonald said February 15 during a news conference at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Steps taken to clean up car exhaust over the past few decades have had a huge effect, and as a result, “the sources of air pollution are now becoming more diverse in cities,” said McDonald, a chemist at Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences in Boulder, Colo.

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