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Beijing's pollution level spikes, authorities blame perfumes and hair gel

Presence of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) - which add fragrance to household products - are being seen as big contributors to air toxicity.

Beijing's pollution level spikes, authorities blame perfumes and hair gel
File photo

Beijing's air quality has repeatedly made international headlines each year for its high toxicity levels. Vehicular and industrial emissions are largely blamed but this year, authorities are also pointing fingers at household products like perfumes and hair-gel as having a major role in increasing pollutants.

According to a report published by South China Morning Post quoting Science and Technology Daily, household emissions are being regarded as big a polluting factor as industrial emissions. Officials have said that volatile organic compounds (VOCs) which give household product their fragrances end up contaminating the air. These products can be found in items like perfumes, deodorants, hair gels and air fresheners. And while most are unable to ascertain the exact contribution of these household products in contaminating the air, some say it could well be as much as industrial units in the city.

Meanwhile, local reports in the country predict that the clampdown against polluting units in and around the capital city may not be as strong as it has been in recent years. The economic slowdown is being cited as one of the major reasons behind this. So, targets have been reportedly revised from a 5% cut in PM2.5 this autumn and winter to about 3%.

Several Chinese and Indian cities are believed to have the worst air quality in the world. Every year, especially around the winter months, there is an informal and infamous 'competition' between Beijing and New Delhi in particular with respect to how toxic the air is over the two cities. Air purifiers and air masks fly off the shelves each year even as international and local health bodies warn of severe implications on long-term health of residents.