The use of acetaldehyde is widespread in industry, and it may be released into waste water or the air during production, use, transportation and storage. Sources of acetaldehyde include fuel combustion emissions from stationary internal combustion engines and power plants that burn fossil fuels, wood, or trash, oil and gas extraction, refineries, cement kilns, lumber and wood mills and paper mills.
Diffuse sources and industry sources included in diffuse emissons data
Production by photochemical oxidation of other compounds in the air is the largest source of acetaldehyde concentrations in the ambient air. Acetaldehyde is emitted from residential fireplaces and wood stoves, bush fires, and agricultural burning.
Acetaldehyde has a widespread natural occurrence. Acetaldehyde occurs in nature as an intermediate product in the respiration of higher plants and can be found in ripening fruit such as apples. Also, acetaldehyde is an intermediate product of fermentation of alcohol and in metabolism of sugars in the body. It may form in wine and other alcoholic beverages after exposure to air. It naturally occurs as a result of forest fires, volcanoes, animal wastes, and insects. It is a volatile component of cotton leaves and blossoms. Acetaldehyde occurs in oak and tobacco leaves and is a natural component of apples, broccoli, coffee, grapefruit, grapes, lemons, mushrooms, onions, oranges, peaches, pears, pineapples, raspberries, and strawberries. It has been detected in the essential oils of alfalfa, rosemary, balm, clary sage, daffodil, bitter orange, camphor, angelica, fennel, mustard, and peppermint.
Acetaldehyde is present in automobile and diesel exhaust.
Consumers may be exposed to acetaldehyde in cheese, heated milk, cooked beef, cooked chicken, and rum. It is an important component of food flavourings (in low concentrations which are generally recognised as safe) and is added to milk products, baked goods, fruit juices, sweets, desserts, and soft drinks. It is an especially useful for imparting orange, apple, and butter flavours. It is used in the manufacture of vinegar and yeast and as a fruit and fish preservative. Consumers may have been exposed to acetaldehyde in room air deodorisers. Exposure in the home environment may occur from the products of burning wood in stoves or fire places.
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