Candles and cleaning products among in-home air polluters

By YOU
22 May 2017

The burning of scented candles and incense can contribute to indoor air pollution, experts warn.

A study conducted by San Diego State University academics has investigated various factors that contribute to air pollution inside the home.

Recruiting nearly 300 families with at least one child aged 14 and younger and one smoker, the researchers installed a pair of air particle monitors in each group's home, one in the area of the house closest to where smoking usually occurs and one in the child's bedroom, and monitored the air quality over a period of three months.

Unsurprisingly, they found that cigarette smoke emerged as a major source of airborne particles in homes with smokers. However, the researchers also found that marijuana smoking contributed to in-home air pollution about as much as tobacco smoking and that burning candles and incense, frying food in oil and spraying cleaning products also increased the number of fine particles in the air.

In response to the findings, environmental health scientist and lead author Neil Klepeis said that it was interesting to find out what exactly was occurring in homes that lead to higher air particle levels and, in turn, to unhealthy environments for children.

"The aim of our research is, ultimately, to find effective ways to promote smoke-free homes and also to find good strategies, in general, for reducing exposure to household pollution," he stated. "Our research team is continuing to develop novel monitoring devices and approaches that consumers can use to understand their air quality, and to explore ways that work for them and their families to reduce unhealthy pollutant exposures, especially for kids."

The full study has been published in journal PLOS ONE.

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