Most people think smog is caused by heavy industry, power companies, cars, and trucks. However, many consumer products contain chemicals that may contribute to smog formation too. As proof of that, the California Air Resources Board (ARB) announced Friday that it has fined Pier 1 Imports Inc. and Scent Shop Inc. a total of $138,000 for violating air pollution laws.
Bakersfield and the Central Valley residents, whose smog is some of the worst, if not the worst, in the nation may not realize it, but many common products like air fresheners, deodorants, perfume, and household cleaners contain volatile organic compounds (VOC). These chemicals react with nitrogen oxides (NOx) in the presence of sunlight to form photochemical smog.
Pier 1 and its manufacturer Scent Shops ran afoul of regulations designed to limit VOCs in consumer products when a liquid air freshener sold in California was found to violate those regulations. The product was known as a “reed diffuser” and was sold at Pier 1 between 2009 and 2011. Tests showed that the product contained more than 18 percent by weight VOC, the maximum allowed under California law. Additionally, other air fresheners and a fabric protectant
manufactured abroad, imported by Pier 1, and sold under its name were also found to be in violation.
Samples of such consumer products are regularly purchased by ARB investigators across the state. They check to see that the products meet labeling and dating requirements then arrange for laboratory testing.
“Many common household products, such as air fresheners and cosmetics, contain compounds that contribute to unhealthy smog. It’s important that retailers only stock and sell products that
adhere to ARB regulations limiting the amount of these compounds,” said James Ryden, ARB’s Enforcement Division Chief.
ARB estimated that direct sales of the products resulted in 7 tons of excess VOC emissions.
As part of the settlement, Pier 1 agreed it would not sell, supply, or offer for sale for use in California any consumer product in violation of the state’s consumer products regulations as part of an effort to reduce air pollution and smog.
For more information about the Consumer Products Program, go to ARB Consumer Products
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