Shampoo is causing air pollution, but let’s not lose our heads

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Say air pollution and we tend to think of car exhausts, large factories and open fires. But in Western cities, the biggest source of air pollution is something else entirely: household items like your deodorant and shampoo.

It is important to put these findings in context, however. They only apply to highly developed places like the US and western Europe, where air quality has generally been improving for decades, says Michael Brauer of the University of British Columbia in Canada. In these places, emissions from consumer products are only significant because emissions from transport and industry have fallen so much.