Indiana University, Purdue University, Université de Lille, Center for Energy and Environment and Edelweiss Technology Solutions and LLC researchers have found that people using commercial cleaners with certain chemicals in them may be exposed to as much particle pollutants as if they were sitting beside a public road. The study has been published in the journal Science Advances. Scientists described their study of air samples taken in a room being mopped with a commercial floor cleaner.
Makers of commercial cleaners have over the years taken to adding chemicals to their cleaners to make them smell good. This includes pine scents. The makers of such chemicals are exposing their customers to high levels of secondary organic aerosols.
SOAs are types of aerosols that affects the lungs when inhaled. Some of the main sources are combustion engines, like those found in most automobiles. Scientists noted that prior work by others. It has shown that SOAs are formed, when monoterpenes interact with molecules such as ozone. They also noted that many of the chemicals that are used to make commercial cleaners smell better contain monoterpenes.
Scientists wondered if such cleaning products are exposing people to SOAs. They outfitted a room at their lab with several devices that allowed for measuring monoterpenes, ozone levels and SOAs, to find out. They used a commercial cleaner which contained monoterpenes to improve its smell. They then moped the floor.
Scientists found high levels of monoterpenes which interacted with natural ozone in the air. They also found high levels of SOAs being produced. They found that the levels in the room as a person mopped a floor were similar to those a person would experience if they were sitting next to a busy road. They found levels similar to sitting next to a road for up to six hours. Scientists suggested more work is needed to find out if the SOAs being made by chemicals in cleaning agents are doing more than irritating the lungs of people who use them.