Firstly, a quick introduction to volatile organic compounds and where they are found. In addition, we will share some tips on how to reduce (VOCs) in the home.
Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are organic chemicals that have a high vapour pressure at room temperature. VOCs are released as gases from certain solids or liquids.
The EPA’s recent survey revealed that levels of about a dozen common organic pollutants are 2 to 5 times higher inside homes than outside.
You can find VOCs in many everyday items in the house. Such as home furnishing, synthetic carpet and soft furnishings. Also, in decorating materials such as paint and varnishes. And cleaning materials, air fresheners and polishes.
50% OF OUR NATION’S 115,000 SCHOOLS HAVE PROBLEMS LINKED TO AIR QUALITY (EPA)
Health Effects from Exposure to Volatile Organic Compounds
Volatile organic compounds are known to cause a variety of adverse health effects. Such as burning sensations in the eyes, sore throat and headaches. Furthermore, long-term exposure to VOCs can cause allergies and asthma.
The symptoms felt are often similar to a cold, so it is hard to identify if you have been affected. A simple way to find out is if your symptoms go away soon after leaving the building.
Exposure to Volatile organic compounds varies, depending on the temperature and air exchange rate within the indoor space.
VOC emissions will increase with increased temperature and will be lower with a lower temperature. In addition, emissions will also increase with increased humidity.
Volatile organic compounds are a contributing factor to indoor air pollution. Want to know more indoor air quality? Click here to read the full article.
Toxic chemicals in the air cause about 40,000 Britons to die each year (Royal College of Physicians & Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health)
Top 5 Tips to Eliminate Volatile Organic Compounds
1. Keep your home well ventilated during and after painting, as some paints release VOCs and are highly toxic. In addition, tightly sealed buildings have little ventilation which traps toxic fumes inside.
2. Increase ventilation when using toxic cleaning materials such as bleach; they contain many harmful pollutants, such as VOCs and formaldehyde.
3. Replace toxic cleaning materials with products that are environmentally friendly. Also, avoid aerosols and sprays as this harm the ozone layer.
4. Do not use air fresheners they release harmful toxins and VOCs into the atmosphere. As an alternative use essential oils, they are natural and also have many healing benefits.
5. Avoid synthetic carpets as they emit formaldehyde and VOCs. All contributing to indoor air pollution.