[Volatile Organic Compounds - VOC]

Volatile organic compounds can be found in everyday items around the house.

Volatile organic compounds (VOC’s) are one of the most common indoor air pollutants you will have in your home, especially if it is a new home or if you have recently remodeled the house.

Volatile organic compounds are gases that emit from certain solids or liquids and include a variety of chemicals that could have both short term and long term adverse health effects.  Exposure to VOC’s such as acetaldehyde, acrolein, acetone, methane, ethane, benzene, 1,3-butadiene, 1,4-dichlorobenzene, formaldehyde, or naphthalene can cause eye irritation, trigger asthma symptoms or other respiratory issues, increase the risk of asthma sensitization, have an neurological effects such as numbness, loss of sensation, paralysis, memory loss, fatigue, and even cause cancer.

VOC’s can be found in your home in a wide ranging list of items such as paints, varnishes, glues, cleaners, disinfectants, degreasers, air fresheners, and hobby products.  VOC’s are also found in a variety of building materials and furnishings such as cabinets, carpet, wood floors, and furniture. The list of products that release VOC’s is extensive.

Concentrations of many VOC’s are consistently higher indoors (up to 10x higher) than the outdoors, though proper ventilation will help keep that number lower.  Typically levels of volatile organic compounds will decrease over time due to off-gassing though some products may continue to remain at harmful levels years after they were installed in your home.