Home Cosmetic Science Talk Cosmetic Industry Are cosmetics causing air pollution?

  • Are cosmetics causing air pollution?

    Posted by oldperry on March 30, 2022 at 7:23 pm

    I’ve always believed that VOC regulations and other aims to restrict the formulation of volatile components of cosmetics was out of place. In my view, people were going after cosmetic products which had a minuscule effect on the environment compared to the transportation or other industries.

    This paper I stumbled on has me questioning this belief. 

    According to this paper published in Science (a legit science journal),
    +38% of VOC in Los Angeles is from Consumer Products

    The authors claim that this is mostly a result of cars getting more efficient in their emissions while consumer products haven’t changed much.

    This isn’t my area of expertise so my opinion is easier to manipulate. So, I ask anyone out there who might know…

    Is this a reasonable assessment of the impact of cosmetic products on the environment or is this an exaggeration that avoids talking about some key information?

    PhilGeis replied 1 year, 10 months ago 4 Members · 6 Replies
  • 6 Replies
  • bill_toge

    March 31, 2022 at 9:58 pm

    they seem to have completely neglected the industrial use of volatile solvents, which severely dwarfs consumer use

  • oldperry

    March 31, 2022 at 10:22 pm

    They list industrial VCP (or VOC) at 15% compared to 38% personal care. Is that something different?

  • ozgirl

    March 31, 2022 at 10:33 pm
    How much hair spray are they using in Los Angeles? :D :D :D
    Not sure how accurate the data is but it must also be noted that this study was published in 2018 so would not include the increased use of hand sanitisers in the last 2 years.
  • PhilGeis

    April 1, 2022 at 1:10 pm

    I represented P&G in this matter at fed and state (esp. Calif and NY) for over a decade.  For Cal - see https://ww2.arb.ca.gov/sites/default/files/2020-12/cp_all_regs_5-2019.pdf
    You’ll see there is no definition of “VOC” in the article and they add medium volatility VOC in their consideration of personal care products.   
    Below is definition of  VOC in all state and fed reg’s (emphasis added)

    Volatile Organic Compound (VOC)” means any compound containing at least
    one atom of carbon,
    excluding carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, carbonic
    acid, metallic carbides or carbonates, and ammonium carbonate, and
    excluding the following:

    “the following” includes a list of halogenated VOC that do not react to form smog - and acetone. 

    For personal care products - VOC as all carbon containing compounds largely goes down the drain. 

     California by law make industry lower to the “maximum extent feasible” highly volatile organic compounds (>0.1mm  VP) through the last decades.  They even reversed the aerosol antiperspirant/deodorant reg. after (P&G) discovered they low high VOC formula  formed a carcinogen.

  • bill_toge

    April 1, 2022 at 8:39 pm

    Perry said:

    They list industrial VCP (or VOC) at 15% compared to 38% personal care. Is that something different?

    I’ve no idea how they managed to come up with that figure, given that their measurements came entirely from residential and commercial properties, and the roads adjacent to them
    the whole thing seems like a bodge job, and the fact it was published in a peer-reviewed journal is a damning indictment of the ongoing decline in academic standards
  • PhilGeis

    April 2, 2022 at 11:22 am

    Good point Bill.  Think academics writing about practical stuff are often over their heads - and when reviewing such stuff often get intimidated.

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