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VOCs in cleaning products used in age care and social facilities: Identification of hazardous substances

University of Paris-Est, Scientific and Technical Center for Building (CSTB), Health and Comfort Department, French Indoor Air Quality Observatory (OQAI), 84 Avenue Jean Jaures, Champs sur Marne, 77447 Marne la Vallee Cedex 2, France

Special Issues: Volatile organic compounds

Prior to the nationwide survey on indoor air quality in 100 age care and social facilities across France, which is planned for 2019, a questionnaire was sent by email to the directors of all 18,432 institutions of these types to determine the potential emission sources of indoor pollutants. Among these, cleaning practices and cleaning products were targeted. The questionnaire included items regarding cleaning frequency and periods, cleaning techniques, storage areas, the use of air fresheners and the commercial names of the products used. A total of 2140 questionnaires were collected and processed, and 1109 cleaning products, along with their commercial names, were listed. From them, 341 different products were identified, for which 299 safety data sheets (SDSs) were available and analyzed. A total of 216 different chemical substances were identified in the SDSs. The boiling points were retrieved to classify the substances according to their volatility. Finally, information regarding their hazard classification was collected, and six categories of human health effects were considered. A total of 41 chemical substances were classified, among which 10 are carcinogenic, 6 are mutagenic, 1 has reproductive toxicity, 3 have specific target organ toxicity - repeat exposure, 19 are possible endocrine disruptors, 14 are skin sensitizers, and 2 are respiratory sensitizers. Of these 41 chemicals, 51% (n = 21) are volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Despite the limitations of using SDSs, which do not report the exact compositions of the products, this study shows that a large spectrum of volatile substances may be emitted from cleaning products used in age care and social facilities, which may have a potential impact on the indoor air quality.
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