The Consumer Aerosol Products Council (CAPCO) recently sent a letter to Donald Trump thanking him for publicly announcing his preference for aerosol hairspray. It also encouraged him to continue using aerosols because they no longer have chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) , don’t harm the ozone layer and are recyclable when empty.
The media coverage of Trump’s statements about hairspray was immediate and widespread, and some stories did not accurately reflect the current state of aerosol products. The New York Times article Donald Trump Laments Loss of Aerosol Sprays to Frame His Hair, implied that aerosol sprays are no longer available. In fact, they are safe, widely-used products that haven’t contained ozone-depleting substances as propellants for over 30 years.
While the article correctly noted that aerosol products no longer contain CFCs, CAPCO noted that the removal of CFCs from U.S. aerosol products occurred earlier than the 1990s. The aerosol products industry began to remove CFCs voluntarily in the 1970s even before the EPA banned CFC propellants in 1978. Legislation for the global phase-out of CFCs took place later under the Montreal Protocol, which went into effect in 1989.
The Times also reported “Since then, the hairspray industry has been able to find substitutes that produce the same misty effect of CFCs and aerosol,” implying that aerosols have been eliminated. In fact, it is the propellants (CFCs) that have been substituted—nearly four billion aerosols are currently produced in the U.S. each year using a wide variety of propellants that are safe for the ozone layer.
The bottom line is misperceptions persist about aerosol products and their effects on the
environment. Perhaps Trump’s grooming product preferences will provide a platform for setting the record straight yet one more time.