Offgassing occurs when Volatile Organic Compounds (or VOCs) are released into the air we breathe. VOCs can live anywhere in your home in the form of solids or liquids. Common sources, like paints, furniture, carpeting, cleaning supplies, and more, can create some of the most well-known VOCs including formaldehyde, chloroform, acetone, ozone, and more. When these sources offgas, it can impact your family’s health and cause discomfort in your home. So, what can you do?
How to Tell if Something is Offgassing
Sometimes, odor can be a sign that something is offgassing. While it’s not always present or an indicator of offgassing, it’s not uncommon to experience odors. For example, a new car smell—a smell that most of us actually enjoy—is an example of offgassing chemicals from manufacturing glue. The same is true for that ‘clean’ smell we all love after a day of disinfecting. These smells can create long-lasting health problems for you and your family. All VOCs (and people) are different, so it’s possible that you won’t even recognize an odor or even know that something around you is offgassing, but that doesn’t mean VOCs aren’t releasing themselves into the air we breathe.
If you’re wondering if offgassing is a problem in your home, an Indoor Air Quality test can help you identify it. One of our Healthy Air Professionals in your area can also help you discover some IAQ solutions that could work for your home and family. Or you can work to eliminate your exposure to VOCs altogether by making some changes in your home.
What Are the Health Risks of Offgassing?
If you’ve been exposed to offgassing, you may find that your allergy and asthma symptoms are acting up. Since VOCs are known to impact your Indoor Air Quality, these symptoms can worsen due to the polluted air surrounding you. If you’re exposed for a substantial amount of time, you may find yourself experiencing the following:
- Eye, nose, and throat irritation
- Long-term symptoms, including:
- Vision problems
- Memory problems
- Respiratory issues
- Heart disease
How to Prevent Offgassing
The best way is to eliminate or lessen your exposure to high VOC products and opt for more natural remedies when cleaning, crafting, shopping, and more. Here are some suggestions:
- Don’t smoke
- Avoid products known to offgas and instead, use:
- Natural cleaning solutions
- Furniture made with natural materials
- Low or non-VOC paints
You can also make some healthy changes to your home in order to reduce VOCs from releasing into your indoor air and slow offgassing. You can:
- Bring Fresh Air In: With the air inside our homes being 5 times more polluted than the air outside, bringing in fresh air can help replenish your indoor air. Take a second to run your ventilation or even open up your windows and let all that new air in.
- Fill Your Home with Houseplants: There are a wealth of houseplants known to boost your home’s air quality. Check out some of our favorites.
- Install an Air Purifier: Air purifiers and the right air filter can help remove VOCs from the air and boost the amount of Healthy Air circulating in your home.
- Practice Healthy Humidity: High humidity can actually make items offgas quicker. Investing in a dehumidifier can help you regulate your humidity and slow the offgassing process.
Clean air is Healthy Air, pure and simple. And when it comes to your home, breathing the highest quality air is important for the health of you and your family. Creating a Healthy Home environment is easy when you have the right tools. See how a Healthy Air Professional can help you.