How Do Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) Affect the Environment?

Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) Affect the Environment

VOCs are short for volatile organic compounds. The most commonly known one- formaldehyde. It is important to be educated on where they are found in our own environments to minimize risks.

Keep you and your family safe from the dangers of VOCs. Continue reading to learn more about how do VOCs affect the environment and minimize the impact of volatile organic compounds.

What Are VOCs?

VOCs, short for volatile organic compounds, are dangerous gases that emit from certain solids and liquids. VOCs are nearly ten times higher indoors than outdoors. This is because there is less circulation and many common household items-furniture, appliances, even walls, can emit VOCs.

Some common VOCs are formaldehyde, perchloroethylene, benzene, and methylene chloride. Remember, these are not ingredients in products, but chemicals that are emitted from their liquids or solids. Some smell while others are odorless.

Sources of VOCs

Some VOCs can be measured, like formaldehyde. If it is a concern you can have a specialist come over to check for levels and identify the source.

Common items that include VOCs are paint and paint strippers, wood preservatives, aerosols, cleaners, air fresheners, motor fluids, dry-cleaned clothing, and many hobby and craft supplies.

Dangers and How Do VOCs Affect the Environment

Short-term effects of VOCs can include nausea, dizziness, ear, eye, nose, and throat irritation, and headaches. Long-term exposure to VOCs can result in cancer, liver damage, kidney dysfunction, and central nervous system dysfunction.

Professions such as hairdressers, painters, and engineers are working in high VOC environments. Make sure your working space is well ventilated and you are taking proper safety measures to reduce exposure.

Ways To Reduce Volatile Organic Compounds

The first step to reduce VOCs is to put yourself in an environment with minimal VOCs. Look into the air pollution and building environment of where you will be living.

Pretty much all chemicals, paints, pesticides, and glues, etc. contain VOCs. Make sure to meet or exceed all professional use instructions and always work in properly ventilated areas. Wear a mask if possible and permissible.

Once these chemicals are no longer in use, throw them out. Buy only the quantities you expect to use. They can continue to emit VOCs after being opened, and continued exposure can have serious health consequences.

The next step is controlling VOC emitting materials brought into your home. Make sure to look for GreenGuard Gold certified home products. This is a certification that ensures the safety of emissions.

Additionally, furniture foam padding can contain formaldehyde. Rips in furniture can emit VOCs, so replace furniture if possible.

Dry-cleaning can also harbor VOCs in your closet and as you wear dry-cleaned items.

The last step is counteracting VOC emissions. Make sure to open windows daily. Place air-purifying plants like snake and spider plants all around your home. And make sure to step outside for fresh air.

Minimize Risk of Volatile Organic Compounds

You’re probably realizing that volatile organic compounds are in everything. Even in environments we can’t fully control like the offices we work at or the homes we already reside in. However, now that you understand the important question of how do VOCs affect the environment, there is a lot you can do to minimize your exposure.

Follow our suggestions on ways to reduce VOCs. Contact us to learn more about creating a safer environment for your home or business.