Foul Smell around You? Could be an Indoor Air Quality Problem

Have you been puzzled lately by various types of odors such as scented products, air fresheners, laundry detergent, personal care scents, or others? A survey of selected consumer goods showed some of these kinds of products may emit volatile organic compounds. Some of these compounds are classified as toxic or hazardous by law. Some of these aromatic compounds can be the source of IAQ problems. These compounds may be inorganic or organic in nature. They can emit pleasant and unpleasant odors.


By the end of the 19th century, more synthetic ingredients started replacing the natural products, such as essential oils in perfumes and other cleaning products. Over 3000 fragrance ingredients are estimated to be used in these products. Approximately over 12% of the population suffers from Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS). The emitted volatile chemicals by these products may pose an issue or nuisance to these individuals.

The United States Consumer Product Safety Commission regulates the cleaning supplies, air fresheners, and laundry products and the Food and Drug Administration oversees the personal care products. However, the manufacturers are not enforced to disclose some of the ingredients due to copyright and trade secret issues. Some common compounds which may be toxic or unpleasant includes, but is not limited to, acetaldehyde, acetone, ethanol, benzaldehyde, isopropyl alcohol, pinene, benzyl acetate, ethyl acetate, isoamyl acetate, cymene, limonene, etc. These compounds, after emitting from their source materials, can also give rise to byproducts such as ozone, formaldehyde, etc. which have adverse effects on health and hygiene.

Therefore it is important to take people’s complaints seriously on the above issue. To assess the exposure risks, it is essential to estimate these chemicals in and around the individual’s dwellings. A number of tests, from Do-It-Yourself screen tests to detailed environmental diagnostic evaluations are available to help identify indoor environmental contaminants of these chemicals resulting from various products used in our day-to-day lives.

Contact Dr. Rajiv Sahay, CIAQP, FIAS at (800) 422-7873, Ext. 304 for additional information.

Environmental Diagnostics Laboratory (EDLab):

Alan Wozniak founded Pure Air Control Services, Inc. in 1984 as a small, mechanical, contracting firm and has since set the industry standard for indoor environmental quality diagnosis, environmental laboratory and remediation. Pure Air Control Services has serviced more than 600 million square feet of indoor environments in over 10,000 facilities.

The Environmental Diagnostics Laboratory (EDLab) (established in 1992) at Pure Air Control Services (PACS) is an environmental lab offering complete and comprehensive indoor environmental microbiology laboratory services. They include: microbiology, aerobiology, chemistry, allergen assays and microscopy designed to meet all your indoor air needs. EDLab supports IAQ investigations by assisting with strategic sampling plan development and supplying media collection equipment while performing a wide range of environmental analyses.

The company’s expanding client roster includes the General Services Administration (GSA); US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), Allstate Insurance; Carrier Air Conditioning; US Naval Air Warfare Center, Orlando; and Naval Air Station – King’s Bay, Georgia, and many other Fortune 500 companies, school boards, and city, state, and county governments, making Pure Air Control Services/EDLab the reliable industry leader in IAQ.

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