Odor masking vs. removal is an inefficient and ill-advised approach to indoor air quality control that will lead to reduced occupant satisfaction, as well as decreased output quality and profits.
Odor Masking Vs. Elimination
Odor masking via perfumes and aerosols is a common, yet ill-advised method for masking odors that do little to nothing to improve the smell.
It’s important to know the difference between products that mask an odor and those that eliminate the odor.
Products that mask an odor work by the odor molecule absorbing to a fragrance droplet.
The fragrance droplet can’t hold onto the odor molecule, resulting in the release of the odor molecule.
This is why with masking agents you smell both the odor and the fragrance, and why these products aren’t effective at eliminating smoke and other odors.
Further, masking agents can lead to issues with indoor air quality (IAQ)--leading to potentially hazardous occupant health issues.
Many air fresheners contain phthalates--considered and regulated as hazardous waste--which are typically not listed on the label.
Phthalates have been identified as the source (or potential source) of several significant health risks.
According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG);
Studies of ordinary people suggest exposures to phthalates increase the risk of reproductive system birth defects and hormonal changes in baby boys.
In adult men they are linked to reduced sperm motility and concentration, increased damage to sperm DNA, and hormonal changes.
Phthalate exposures are linked to obesity and insulin resistance in men (Stahlhut 2007), conditions that can lead to Type 2 diabetes.
They are also linked to thyroid irregularities in both men and women, and to asthma and skin allergies in children.
Animal studies indicate exposure to phthalates can trigger miscarriage or cause infertility in females, and can cause birth defects in male and female offspring of animals exposed during pregnancy.
Conversely, products that use enzymes to control and remove odors, as opposed to masking them, are made from safe and natural processes that destroy odor molecules through a chemical reaction.
Enzymes remove odors by causing a biological or chemical reaction.
A type of protein, enzymes are produced by living organisms, but they are not alive. An enzyme is made up of a chain of amino acids, and it’s the changes to the sequence in the structure that dictates the function of the enzyme.
The two most common enzymes used in cleaning products are proteases and amylases, because they are food-based and are the catalysts behind removing and changing the physical properties in most protein related stains and odors.
Safe Odor Control
The first step to safe odor control is to identify the source of the smell and remove it, if possible.
Additionally, increasing natural airflow or HVAC ventilation will aid in reducing the odor particles.
Green cleaning and disinfection products will also remove stains and odors at the source.
Hard surfaces can be wiped off after the laytime of the cleaning or disinfection product has expired, but soft surfaces, such as fabrics on furniture, should be allowed to air dry.
References & Resources
- Remove Odor, Don’t Mask It
- Health Risks of Scented Air Fresheners
- The Serious Dangers of “Fragrances” & How to Protect Yourself
Conventional odor masking methods are dangerous--typically resulting in mild to severe irritation in building occupants that negatively impacts performance after brief exposure.
However, prolonged exposure can cause significant life-threatening health issues in specific demographics, especially pregnant women and teens.
The use of natural, biodegradable products has been shown to eliminate odor particles through a natural process that will not endanger building occupants or contribute to foul smells.
If you would like further information regarding the health and performance benefits of odor control and elimination to improve indoor air quality, or if you would like to schedule a free, no-obligation on-site assessment of all your facilities cleaning and infection prevention and control requirements, contact us today for a free quote!
In Bakersfield CA, call (661) 437-3253
In Fresno CA, call (559) 206-1059
In Valencia CA, or Santa Clarita CA, call (661) 437-3253