HC Deb 05 March 2003 vol 400 c1105W
Norman Baker

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what recent research has been conducted into the impact upon(a) indoor air quality and (b) human health of the use of air fresheners; what advice has been given to the public relating to their use; and if he will make a statement. [99214]

Ms Blears

I am not aware of any research that has been conducted specifically on the impact of air fresheners on indoor air quality. The Buildings Research Establishment national representative survey on air quality found that 41.9 per cent. of households reported using air fresheners. The dominant determinant of total volatile organic compounds in the survey was painting and decorating. Volatile organic compounds are a wide range of different organic chemicals, some of which may be released into the indoor air by the use of air fresheners. However, there are also many other potential sources of the same or similar chemicals such as building materials, furnishings, environmental tobacco smoke and other consumer products.

The Avon longitudinal study of parents and children in Bristol has found associations between air freshener use and ear infections in infants, headache in mothers and depression in mothers. If these associations represent true effects, the mechanisms involved are not entirely clear. Further research is needed to confirm these findings.

No advice has been given to the public on air fresheners specifically.

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