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Techniques & Tools Gas Chromatography, Mass Spectrometry, Environmental

Thermal Desorption Analysis of Essential Oil Emissions from Common In-Home Diffusers


This application note demonstrates a method for sampling and analyzing VOC emissions of essential oils from in-home diffusers. As part of this work, VOC emissions from three different popular types of essential oils were examined. Additionally, one ultrasonic diffuser and two-nebulizing diffusers were selected to compare emissions output of VOC’s for a specific lemon essential oil. For the most abundant VOC in lemon oil, limonene, the emitted concentration was determined for the ultrasonic diffuser and one nebulizing diffuser.


Recently, essential oil emissions from in-home have become a topic of increasing interest due to potential implications on indoor air quality. Benefits of essential oils includes reducing stress and anxiety while improving alertness and brain function. Conversely, the negative effect of essential oil diffusers and their impact on air quality and human health is also widely debated. Adverse health effects caused by essential oils include allergic reactions or causing respiratory stress on asthmatics. Additionally, cats and dogs are far more sensitive to odors than humans, so many essential oils are known to have potentially damaging health effects to pets.(1,2,3,4)

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