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Research suggests cleaning and personal care products contribute to indoor air pollution

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New research has been conducted into the correlation between materials in our homes and indoor air pollution. Shared at the 2019 AAAS Annual Meeting, the research suggests that activities as common as cooking dinner can pollute indoor and outside air and cause detrimental health impacts.   

Heather Stapleton, associate professor of environmental health at Duke University stated that, “Our research suggests that there are thousands of chemicals we’re exposed to on a daily basis in the indoor environment.”

The research investigated how cleaning and using spray cleaning products affect air quality inside of homes. Marina Vance, assistant professor of mechanical engineering at the University of Colorado Boulder, previewed results at the AAAS Annual Meeting from a collaborative study that she led called House Observations of Microbial and Environmental Chemistry (HOMEChem).

“We spend about 90% of our time indoors,” said Vance. “We have a detailed understanding of the chemistry of the outer atmosphere and reactions and processes that take place there, but the same level of knowledge really does not exist for the indoor environment.”

The researchers offered suggestions for people minimising the impacts of polluting products and processes. Joost de Gouw, visiting professor at Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences at University of Colorado, Boulder suggests that using fewer cleaning or personal care products, could make a difference to the indoor air pollution in our homes.  

At the AAAS Annual Meeting, researchers also agreed that further work needs to be conducted as to better understand the compounds and chemical processes in our homes.