Nevin Manimala Statistics

The impact of plug-in fragrance diffusers on residential indoor VOC concentrations

Environ Sci Process Impacts. 2023 Mar 8. doi: 10.1039/d2em00444e. Online ahead of print.


Plug-in fragrance diffusers are one of myriad volatile organic compound-containing consumer products that are commonly found in homes. The perturbing effects of using a commercial diffuser indoors were evaluated using a study group of 60 homes in Ashford, UK. Air samples were taken over 3 day periods with the diffuser switched on and in a parallel set of control homes where it was off. At least four measurements were taken in each home using vacuum-release into 6 L silica-coated canisters and with >40 VOCs quantified using gas chromatography with FID and MS (GC-FID-QMS). Occupants self-reported their use of other VOC-containing products. The variability between homes was very high with the 72 hour sum of all measured VOCs ranging between 30 and >5000 μg m-3, dominated by n/i-butane, propane, and ethanol. For those homes in the lowest quartile of air exchange rate (identified using CO2 and TVOC sensors as proxies) the use of a diffuser led to a statistically significant increase (p-value < 0.02) in the summed concentration of detectable fragrance VOCs and some individual species, e.g. alpha pinene rising from a median of 9 μg m-3 to 15 μg m-3 (p-value < 0.02). The observed increments were broadly in line with model-calculated estimates based on fragrance weight loss, room sizes and air exchange rates.

PMID:36883522 | DOI:10.1039/d2em00444e

By Nevin Manimala

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