Chemicals in household products such as paint and perfume are now producing as much urban air pollution as motor vehicles, scientists have said.
Everyday items such as deodorant, nail varnish and washing up liquid emit volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which react with sunlight to form ozone pollution.
They also interact with other chemicals, forming tiny particles in the air which can lead to lung damage.
Scientists in Los Angeles said the amount of chemical vapours sent into the atmosphere from such products was now roughly the same as from transport.
Air pollution from particulates is estimated to contribute to 29,000 early deaths a year in the UK.
Lead author of the study, Brian McDonald, said that as “the transportation sector gets cleaner, these other sources of VOCs become more and more important”.
Researchers said the US had been underestimating VOC emissions from everyday products by up to a factor of three, while overestimating similar emissions from cars by 40%.
Because these products are often used indoors, researchers say their use is a health risk and updated regulations are required.
The study, which was led by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and published in the journal Science, comes as the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs released its latest emissions figures.
They showed an overall decline in air pollution, which is being attributed largely to tighter vehicle regulations.
Its findings have been published in the journal Science.
(c) Sky News 2018: Household items like perfume as bad as cars for pollution, scientists say