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Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2011 Dec;8(12):4477-87. doi: 10.3390/ijerph8124477. Epub 2011 Nov 30.

The antimicrobial properties of cedar leaf (Thuja plicata) oil; a safe and efficient decontamination agent for buildings.

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Department of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine, University of British Columbia, 2733 Heather Street, Vancouver, BC V5Z 3J5, Canada.


Cedar leaf oil (CLO), derived from the Western red cedar, Thuja plicata, was evaluated as a safe and acceptable broad spectrum antimicrobial agent, with a view to its potential applications in buildings, including the alleviation of sick building syndrome. Various Gram-positive and Gram-negative human bacteria, and two fungal organisms, all known to be common environmental sources of potential infection, were selected and tested quantitatively, and all of them were found to be susceptible to CLO liquid and vapor. Bacterial spores and Aspergillus niger were sensitive, although less so than the vegetative bacteria. Similar tests with cultured human lung cells showed that continuous exposure to CLO vapor for at least 60 minutes was not toxic to the cells. Based on these results, CLO shows promise as a prospective safe, green, broad-spectrum anti-microbial agent for decontamination of buildings.


Thuja plicata; anti-microbial; bacteria; cedar leaf oil; decontamination; fungi; sick building syndrome; spores

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