Aerosol industry veteran Don Rowson passes away

Written on: January 10, 2024 by SprayTM

This story will be updated as more information becomes available

Donald E. “Don” Rowson, President & CEO of Industrial Hydrocarbons, Inc. and Founding President of the Western Aerosol Information Bureau (WAIB), passed away on January 8. He was 90 years old.

“The WAIB would like to take a moment to honor Don, for his wisdom, guidance, spirit, and energy that he has provided to the aerosol industry,” the organization said in a statement.

“Don laid a solid foundation for the WAIB and the aerosol industry. Don and his wife Sharon donated countless hours of insightful leadership and services to us.”


Rowson served in the U.S. Army in Europe from 1953–1954 and graduated from Claremont McKenna College (then Claremont Men’s College) in 1958 with a B.A. in Marketing & Finance. While putting himself through school, he was an oilfield roustabout in Santa Paula, CA and later became the plant operator for the Beverly Hills Water & Power Co. He began his employment with Suburban Gas in 1956 and worked his way from LP Gas Serviceman to Southern California Regional Manager in 11 years, at which time he was presented the opportunity, as Director, to form Industrial Hydrocarbons, Inc.

The corporation was founded by Rowson in April of 1966 as a subsidiary of Suburban Gas Co. In 1970, he purchased the young company from Suburban, ran it as a family corporation, and built it to an organization of 30 employees, which sold over 30,000,000 pounds of hydrocarbons, fluorocarbons and chlorinated solvents per year.

With the sale of the chemical division in 1984, Industrial Hydrocarbons became a consulting firm specializing in life, health and environmental safety and property protection.

As a consultant to the aerosol industry, he covered expert witness industry representation, air quality, manufacturing and production design, hydrocarbon safety, safer design and redesign of state-of-the-art gas house facilities (including construction design covering ventilation, gas detection and explosion protection) with fully integrated safety interlocks for both production and laboratory facilities.

Rowson worked as an expert witness in industry defense for over 35 years and had a highly successful settlement experience in favor of his clients. He also traveled around the world to present numerous seminars in Aerosol Storage & Warehousing, Aerosol Technology, Fire Department Safety Training and Hydrocarbon Aerosol Safety Training.

Rowson received the Western Aerosol Information Bureau (WAIB) Lifetime Membership Award in 1994 for service as Founding President of the Organization for seven years and serving over 10 years on the Board.

In 2004, he received both the Southern Aerosol Technical Association (SATA) Distinguished Service Award and the Household & Consumer Products Association (HCPA—formerly Consumer Specialties Products Association [CSPA]; Chemical Specialties Manufacturers Association [CSMA]) Charles E. Alderdice, Jr. Annual Memorial Award.

The British Aerosol Manufacturers’ Association (BAMA) presented Rowson with the Award for Social Responsibility in 2009 and the National Aerosol Association (NAA) presented its Champions of the Industry Award to Don and his wife Sharon Rowson in 2011.

Rowson was on the HCPA Aerosol Division Board of Directors, as well as a Past Chairman of the HCPA Aerosol Division Advisory Board, Aerosol Division Communications Committee, Aerosol Division Critical Issues Committee, Aerosol Division Hydrocarbon Safety Committee, Aerosol Division Scientific & Technical Affairs Committee (Flammability Sub-Committee) and Aerosol Manufacturing & Storage Standards Committee.

Other affiliations include the International Code Council (ICC) as Charter Member; Midwest Aerosol Association (MAA); NAA Board of Directors/ Past Treasurer; SATA Technical Liaison; and WAIB, Life Member, Founding Chairman/President (1973–1979), Board of Directors, (1973–1983) and Advisory Board.

Productions and publications include:

Film:  Genie from the Lamp of Science, Co-Producer
TV: History Channel’s Modern Marvels–“Containers” episode, “Cans” episode by Actuality Productions
Video/CD Rom: ESFR, Co-Producer
Publications: Hydrocarbon Safety Manual for Plant Laboratory, Co-author & Co-chairman, (1979); Manual Re-write Sub-committee (1982 & 1999)

Other industry affiliations include:

Aerosol Room Explosion Protection (AREP) Test Project
Canadian Manufacturers of Chemical Specialties (CMCS)
Personal Care Products Council (PCPC)
Product Liability Task Force 
Federation of European Aerosols (FEA)
Flammability Committee
Industrial Safety Committee
Transport Task Force
Warehouse Safety Requirements Task Force
International Fire Code Institute (IFCI [charter member])
Los Angeles Society for Coatings Technology (LASCT)
National Fire Protection Association (NFPA)
NFPA 30B Committee on Aerosol Products (founding voting principal)
Spray Paint Committee – 25 years
National Fire Protection Research Foundation (NFPRF)
National Wholesale/Retail Occupancy Fire Research Project
Technical Advisory Committee
National Liquified Petroleum Gas Association (NLPGA)
Research & Development Committee 
National Paint & Coatings Association (NPCA)
Spray Paint Committee 
Society of Cosmetic Chemists (SCC)
Southern Building Code Congress International (SBCCI)
State of California Department of Industrial Safety
Division of Industrial Relations
Industry Safety Committee, Chairman 
Uniform Building Code
Western Fire Chiefs Association (WFCA) 
Western Liquid Gas Association (WLGA)
Safety Committee Chairman 

Rowson is survived by his wife, Sharon, four children, five grandchildren and numerous  great-grandchildren.