- Allergies and Air Pollution's Effect on Health
- Asthma & How it is affected by Air Pollution
- Air Pollution & Cancer
- Air Pollution's Harmful Effects on the Elderly
- More about HEPA and Carbon activated Filters
- Different types of air filters
- Mold Spores and Indoor Air Quality
- UV Air Purifier Guide
- What causes bad indoor air quality?
- How do Air Purifiers Work?
- Air Pollution May Cause Respiratory Infections
- Air Pollution in the workplace
- Pet Dander's Effect on Air Quality and Asthma
- Air Pollution & Sleep Apnea
- Top 5 Reasons Why you should purify Air
- What you need to know about indoor air
- How Pets cause allergies
- Tips on Choosing the Right Air Purifier
- Multiple Chemical Sensitivity
- What are Dust Mites?
- The History of Air Purifiers
- Air Pollution Problems of the new home
- 5 Ways to Reduce Your Pollen Allergies
- Sinusitis Causes and treatments
- What is HEPA filtration?
- Air purifiers and Wood Smoke
- Home Air purifiers and Cigarette Smoke
- Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)
- Formaldehyde Air Pollution
- Is your air purifier ozone free?
Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)
Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) are chemicals that evaporate easily at room temperature from certain solids or liquids. While the presence of VOCs is often associated with an odor, sometimes there is no odor and both types can be harmful. VOC levels are consistently higher indoors (up to ten times higher) than outdoors.
- Wood preservatives
- Aerosol sprays
- Moth balls
- Air fresheners
These are just to name a few; VOCs are emitted by a wide range of products numbering in the thousands. Other examples include pesticides, building materials, copiers, printers, permanent markers, glues and adhesives.
If there are VOCs in a product, they can off gas into the air and create a danger to human health. The risk of health effects from inhaling any chemical depends on how much is in the air, and how long a person breathes it in.
- Eye, nose and throat irritation
- Worsening of asthma symptoms
- Liver damage
- Kidney damage
- Central nervous system damage
Steps to reduce exposure
- Reduce the use of products with formaldehyde, one of the most common VOCs. Sources of formaldehyde in the home include building materials, smoking, household products, and the use of un-vented fuel burning applications.
- Remove or reduce the number of products in your home that will give off VOCs. Only purchase the amount you know you will use.
- Purchase solid wood items with low emitting finishes.
- Use an air purifier to dilute and reduce VOC levels. An air purifier with a carbon activated filter is the most absorbent filter available to capture chemical fumes and gases. High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filters do not work to remove such fine contaminants. Activated carbon filters are rarely used alone to purify air, and are often used in conjunction with other filters because they do not remove dust and other allergens.
The most effective way to limit VOCs indoors is to reduce the potential sources of VOCs. Increasing the amount of fresh air into a space can also reduce VOC levels.
Read Next: Home Air purifiers and Cigarette Smoke