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Fragranced laundry products emit a range of volatile organic compounds, including hazardous air pollutants. Exposure to fragranced emissions from laundry products has been associated with adverse health effects such as asthma attacks and migraine headaches. Little is known about volatile emissions from clothes dryer vents and the effectiveness of strategies to reduce concentrations and risks. This study investigates volatile emissions from six residential dryer vents, with a focus on d-limonene. It analyses and compares concentrations of d-limonene during use of fragranced and fragrance-free laundry products, as well as changes in switching from fragranced to fragrance-free products. In households using fragranced laundry detergent, the highest concentration of d-limonene from a dryer vent was 118 μg/m3 (mean 33.34 μg/m3). By contrast, in households using only fragrance-free detergent, the highest concentration of d-limonene from a dryer vent was 0.26 μg/m3 (mean 0.25 μg/m3). After households using fragranced detergent switched to using fragrance-free detergent, the concentrations of d-limonene in dryer vent emissions were reduced by up to 99.7% (mean 79.1%). This simple strategy of switching to fragrance-free products significantly and almost completely eliminated d-limonene emissions. Results from this study demonstrate that changing from fragranced to fragrance-free products can be a straightforward and effective approach to reduce ambient air pollution and potential health risks.


Mary MacKillop Institute for Health Research

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Journal Article

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