Summertime and the livin is ̶e̶a̶s̶y̶ smoggy.. We're lucky to have reasonable air quality in Vancouver most of the year. Driving home last night watching a smoggy sunset (caused by a forest fire:( was a good reminder that air pollution is real.
Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) are chemicals that evaporate easily at room temperature. VOC exposures are often associated with an odor while other times there is no odor. Both can be harmful. There are thousands of different VOCs produced and used in our daily lives. Although their toxicity will not likely hurt you immediately, constant exposure to these chemicals often create dangerous and sometimes chronic results.
Paints, Varnishes, Moth balls, Solvents, Gasoline, Newspaper, Cooking, Cleaning Chemicals, Vinyl floors, Carpets, Photocopying, Upholstery Fabrics, Adhesives, Sealing Caulks, Cosmetics, Air Fresheners, Fuel Oil, Vehicle Exhaust, Pressed wood furniture, Secondhand smoke
Many products emit or "off–gas" VOCs, including:
Benzene, Toluene, Methylene, Chloride, Formaldehyde, Xylene, Ethylene glycol, Texanol
Studies Show VOC Levels Are Often Higher In Indoor Air Then Outdoor Air
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Total Exposure Assessment Methodology (TEAM) studies have found indoor VOC levels that were 2 to 5 times higher than outdoors.
Levels of VOC Exposure in indoor air vary widely depending on:
*the volume of air in the room/building
*the rate at which the VOC is off-gassed
*the building ventilation rate
What are the health effects of VOC exposure?
Eye irritation / watering
Nausea / Vomiting
Central Nervous System damage
Most studies to date have been on the effects of single chemicals. Less is known about the adverse health effects from combined chemical exposure!
How To Reduce The Levels Of VOC's In Your Home
1. Source Control - Get rid of the products in your home that have high levels of VOC's. When you purchase new household products look for those with low or no VOC's.
2. Air Cleaners - Buying a high quality Air Cleaner will make a big difference inside your home. This dual air cleaner/ionizer scrubs 99.99% of micro particulates (dust, pollen, etc) and has carbon filtration & negative ionization + adjustable ozone generation which will make a huge difference if you have a problem with VOC's.
3. Purchasing Environmentally Friendly cleaning chemicals
4. Remove unused chemicals from your home and clean out any "toxic debris" you may be storing.