Scented products often used to disinfect surfaces in your home could
release fumes that cause irritation and damage to your respiratory system.

Most commercial cleaning products contain some sort of scent, commonly pine or lemon. These scents contain monoterpenes, chemicals which are found naturally in many essential oils extracted from plants. Common monoterpenes themselves are not necessarily harmful. The problem occurs when these chemicals evaporate into the air and react with unstable molecules.

When monoterpenes react with ozone in the air, they oxidize and produce SOAs. SOAs, or secondary organic aerosols, are molecules produced by oxidization. They are most commonly produced by vehicle exhaust, and can be the cause of serious respiratory problems. 

According to researcher Colleen Rosales and her team, staying in a room cleaning with scented products for 1.5 hours can have the same effect on your lungs as standing for 1.5-6 hours near a crowded road. Breathing in these chemicals can be an even bigger threat to those with respiratory issues such as asthma or lung cancer. Luckily, technologies such as IoT sensors can be used to detect these chemicals and notify you when you should take steps to avoid exposure. 


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