Volatile organic compounds, sometimes known as VOCs, are gases with a high vapour pressure released into the atmosphere by products or processes. Once entering the air, some of them might combine with other gases to create new air pollutants.
Many household items contain components made of organic compounds. Organic solvents are present in numerous cleaning, disinfecting, cosmetic, degreasing, and hobby items as well as in paints, varnishes, and wax. Chemicals with an organic makeup make up fuels. While being used and, to a lesser extent, while being stored, all of these products have the potential to emit chemical molecules.
Where VOCs Come From
VOCs can be found inside and outside. When they are transported or stored, several of these sources keep on producing VOCs. VOCs including benzene, formaldehyde, and toluene are some of the most well-known ones. For example, paint, varnishes, cleaners, air fresheners, fuel and wood burning.
VOCs Can Harm Health
VOCs can harm the central nervous system and other organs, irritate the eyes, nose, and throat, create breathing problems and nausea, and irritate the eyes, nose, and throat. Some VOCs can lead to cancer.
The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry Toxic Substances Portal contains information on the precise health effects of each individual VOC.
In the open air, VOCs can have comparable negative effects on health, but they can also combine with nitrogen oxides to form ozone pollution, which is the most pervasive outdoor air pollutant in the country. This is why many people use air ventilators for
The good news is that you can make sure your interior environment is clean and free of harmful VOCs in three simple and efficient ways.
Control and eliminate VOC sources: Your initial move should be to stop the sources of VOC fumes. Avoid using strong chemicals, for instance, and store items like paint, fuel, and chemicals far from your living area. Shop for low- or no-VOC paints and finishes, and select nontoxic cleaning solutions. A lot of everyday household goods contain VOCs. So the simplest and most efficient way to improve your air quality is to simply remove them.
Use only as directed: Unless specifically instructed to do so on the label, never combine chemicals, such as household cleaners. When chemicals are combined, dangerous gases or explosive reactions may follow. Always store household goods that contain chemicals in accordance with the directions provided by the manufacturer. Additionally, keep children and pets away from all items!
Fresh air: Your air quality can be improved by breathing in the outdoor fresh air. In modern, energy-efficient homes and flats, which are designed very airtight to save on energy expenses but might wind up collecting and cycling VOCs, increased ventilation may be especially advantageous. However, you should be aware that outdoor air also introduces fresh particles, such as pollen and other air pollution, which can exacerbate respiratory problems such as allergies or asthma.
Protecting yourself from VOCs
Avoid or limit the use of products with high VOCs
Use low-VOC items, such as paints and building materials, among other products. On the label, look for information about "Low VOCs."
Change your strategy to make fewer VOC-containing items necessary. For instance, integrated pest control can assist in reducing or completely eliminating the use of pesticides.
Purchase only what you actually need for the job. Any leftover or unused products should be disposed of safely.
When using these goods, always abide by the manufacturer's instructions.
Avoid smoking, and maintain all enclosed spaces smoke-free. Along with other toxins, tobacco smoke contains VOCs.
Add ventilation when you use products with VOCs indoors
When utilising products with a lot of VOCs, open the windows and add a fan to move the indoor air outside. The number of VOCs present indoors can be decreased by increasing the amount of fresh air in your home.
Before installing new carpet or building materials, allow them to vent outside to release VOCs.
Avoid storing VOC-containing items indoors, including in garages attached to the structure.
To lessen VOCs created by printers or copiers, make sure the ventilation systems in your office or school are functioning properly.