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Cosmetics do not pollute indoor air

You may have read news items recently that question the safety of indoor air, referring to personal care products and linking their use to a high number of premature deaths. These media reports may have caused you some alarm but rest assured they are based on a misrepresentation of the report* issued by the highly respected Royal College of Physicians and the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health. Certainly their report issued this week refers to the harm that air pollution causes but that pollution is mostly from the outside air, not within the home.

When it comes to the quality of indoor air, the report itself is very clear when it says: "A few substances such as cigarette smoke and carbon monoxide are very serious hazards." These substances of course have no connection to personal care products such as cosmetics.

When it comes to personal care products, the report says they may contain VOCs and then says: "Although they are very common in the air, their health effects are generally minor."

So what then are the substances of concern in indoor air? Again the report published by these two organisations is very clear and lists them as: smoking when pregnant, second-hand smoke, radon gas, poor housing that is damp and has mould, house dust mites and animal dander. These can be mitigated by healthy, varied diet and avoiding being overweight.

It is clear from the report that personal care products such as cosmetics make little or no contribution to the problem of air pollution and consequential harm to health. The real causes are simply not so likely to make headlines.


* Every Breath We Take: The lifelong impact of air pollution - Royal College of Physicians and the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health

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