Frequency and longitudinal trends of household care product use

Rebecca E. Moran, Deborah H Bennett, Daniel J Tancredi, Xiangmei May Wu, Beate Ritz, Irva Hertz-Picciotto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


The use of household cleaning products and air fresheners exposes people to a variety of chemicals, including some that have been shown to be irritants, potential carcinogens and endocrine disrupting compounds. In addition, some react with ambient ozone infiltrating to the indoor environment to form potentially toxic secondary pollutants. Although realistic estimates of usage patterns are necessary for modeling potential exposures in risk assessments, few studies have documented cleaning habits and product usage to characterize how they vary between households and over time. In addition, understanding within-household temporal variability of use is important to assess the reliability of exposure questionnaires used in epidemiological surveys and improve the cost-efficiency of data collection. In the SUPERB (Study of Use of Products and Exposure-Related Behavior) study, frequencies of use of eight types of household cleaning products and air fresheners and the performance of different types of cleaning tasks are collected in three annual telephone and six quarterly web-based surveys. All-purpose and glass cleaners were the products most frequently used among all products surveyed. Use frequencies differed by demographic and other household characteristics for some products. Product usage was internally consistent, with over 75% of pairwise cross-sectional correlations between product types statistically significantly different from zero. In addition, each product type was correlated with at least one cleaning habit. Frequency of cleaning product use and performing cleaning tasks did not vary by season. An examination of intra-household variability showed moderately to highly consistent usage patterns over time, with lower temporal consistency observed among products used more frequently, such as all-purpose cleaners. Frequency of household care product usage was consistent enough that in epidemiologic studies, participants can be classified, for example, into three categories on the basis of a single assessment, with only minimal misclassification.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)417-424
Number of pages8
JournalAtmospheric Environment
StatePublished - Aug 2012


  • Cleaning products
  • D-limonene
  • Indoor environment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atmospheric Science
  • Environmental Science(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'Frequency and longitudinal trends of household care product use'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this