Saving the planet: Try using less deodorant

People with face masks to protect themselves against pollution in Bangkok. But some US researchers have found that paints and perfumes made up a bigger share of emissions as vehicles became cleaner.
People with face masks to protect themselves against pollution in Bangkok. But some US researchers have found that paints and perfumes made up a bigger share of emissions as vehicles became cleaner.

Things people use every day, like pesticides and hair products, emit pollution as much as cars do

The deodorants, perfumes and soaps that keep us smelling good are fouling the air with a harmful type of pollution - at levels as high as emissions from today's cars and trucks.

That's the surprising finding of a study published in the journal Science. Researchers found that petroleum-based chemicals used in perfumes, paints and other consumer products can, taken together, emit as much air pollution in the form of volatile organic compounds, or VOCs, as motor vehicles do.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 22, 2018, with the headline 'Saving the planet: Try using less deodorant'. Print Edition | Subscribe