Sprays and diffusers as indoor air fresheners: Exposure and health risk assessment based on measurements under realistic indoor conditions


  • Karr Guillaume
  • Quivet Etienne
  • Ramel Martine
  • Nicolas Mélanie


  • Air fresheners
  • Health risk assessment
  • Indoor air
  • Sprays
  • Diffusers
  • Emission sources

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Noncombustible air fresheners are indoor air emission sources of concern. The associated health risks should be better understood. Based on 15 products (4 sprays, 6 passive diffusers, and 5 active diffusers), the health risk assessment (HRA) approach was applied to a national use survey in France and to concentrations measured in an experimental house. The targeted substances included volatile organic compounds (VOCs), carbonyls, and fine particles (PM2.5). Mean-use and reasonable worst-case generic scenarios were designed. No situation of concern occurred regarding chronic exposure associated with the mean use. Under the reasonable worst-case scenarios, the chronic risk could exceed selected health reference standards, mainly for acrolein (average inhaled concentration (AIC) up to 3.5 µg/m3), benzene (AIC up to 4 µg/m3), and limonene (AIC up to 8 mg/m3). The acute exposure, defined as a 1-h exposure, could exceed selected health standards, primarily for acrolein (up to 23 µg/m3) and formaldehyde (up to approximately 370 µg/m3). Furthermore, the 1-h average PM2.5 concentration, including ultrafine particles, could exceed 100 µg/m3, typically for sprays. These results suggest that the highest exposures should be reduced and, as such, that the emissions of the highest-emissivity products should be lowered.

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