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What is in an Air Freshener?

Martin Perkins

21st January 2016

Alastair Lewis, Formaldehyde, Limonene, Mark Perkins, Scented Products, Selected Ion Flow Tube Mass Spectrometry, SIFT-MS, University of York, VOCs, Webcast,


An interesting article on the BBC News website – ‘Is there a danger from scented products?’.

I don’t think I am really in a position to answer that here, but Professor Alastair Lewis of the National Centre for Atmospheric Science at the University of York has carried out some great work looking at levels of limonene and other VOCs in indoor air – and it does seem to confirm my suspicions.

Of particular interest were the measurements of formaldehyde, which can be generated in many places in the home (and office) – maybe we should be looking at this more closely.

Formaldehyde has always been a difficult compound to analyse, but  recent advances in analytical instrumentation has made this much easier.  This application note and video demonstrate this most clearly.  Perhaps it’s time to look again?

Our friends at Syft Technologies are hosting a free webcast on the latest advances to the SIFT-MS and its use in environmental and mobile monitoring applications, on Tuesday 26th January at 7pm.  You can register your place here.