VOCS AND HEALTHY AIR

Everyone loves that fresh laundry scent. You may even love the smell of a new car, which is really just the smell of the glue used to assemble the vehicle. Unfortunately, those smells are packed with chemicals called VOCs – or Volatile Organic Compounds – and truthfully, they’re all around us. They’re in the products we purchase and the materials our homes are made of, all of which can affect our health.

Inhaling VOCs can cause:

  • Eye, Nose, and Throat Irritation
  • Headaches
  • Shortness of Breath
  • Nausea
  • Damage to Nervous System and Other Organs
  • Cancer

The American Lung Association defines Volatile Compounds as “gases that are emitted into the air from products or processes.” This can refer to fumes or vapors from scented candles, carpeting, pesticides, and even certain furniture that off-gases fumes from stains, varnishes, or adhesives. When they combine with nitrogen oxides, they can form smog and have serious effects on our health.

Building Materials

Our homes are often built with materials that contain VOCs. Paints, stains, caulk and adhesives, wood preservatives, carpeting, insulation, and flooring all contain VOCs.

Fortunately, many homebuilders are beginning to build homes with your health in mind, opting to become Healthy Home builders.

This means that they’re actively choosing products that are “Low VOC” while emphasizing ventilation so that your home can inhale more fresh air and exhale polluted air.

Home Care Products

Maintaining a clean and tidy home is a great way to ensure your family is breathing Healthy Air.

“Less dust, less must,” we always say.

Unfortunately for many of us, while all those cleaning supplies are being put to good use, they may actually be adding extra indoor air pollution to your home.

Air fresheners, cleaners, disinfectants, and even aerosol deodorants all contain VOCs. Choose organic cleaners whenever possible.

Hobbies and Activities

Having a hobby is great, but certain hobbies can affect our health.

Paints and craft materials like glue or permanent markers contain VOCs that can negatively impact our respiratory systems.

Of course, we’re not saying you shouldn’t enjoy your hobbies. However, we do suggest that you use a room air purifier to cleanse the air whenever enjoying hobbies that make use of VOCs. You should also take breaks to enjoy some fresh air as well.

Outdoor Sources

It’s true that the air inside our homes can be up to five times more polluted than the air outside, all thanks to the presence of VOCs and tightly built homes that prevent VOCs from escaping.

That said, VOCs are no strangers to the outdoors. Gasoline and vehicle emissions, pesticides, wood burning fire pits, and tobacco smoke are commonly found outdoors.

This is why it’s increasingly important to breathe Healthy Air indoors.

Do’s & Don'ts

Do

Look for All-Natural, Organic

Products When Possible

Look for “Low VOC” labels on house cleaning products you suspect may have Volatile Organic Compounds, and always consider using a room air purifier when conducting projects that involve VOCs.

Don’t

Purchase Furniture that

Off-Gasses VOCs

A lot of new furniture is made with particle board or plywood that contains formaldehyde. Varnishes also tend to release VOCs into the air that can affect your health.

Do

Make Sure Your Home Is

Well-Ventilated

Make sure your home is able to inhale fresh air and exhale polluted air containing VOCs with proper ventilation. Consider regular maintenance and duct cleanings to keep your family breathing easy.

Don’t

Smoke Tobacco Products

Tobacco smoke is absolutely a VOC! In fact, tobacco smoke can contain up to 7,000 different chemicals. If you’re an avid smoker, we strongly encourage you to consider quitting for your health as well as the health of your loved ones.

Do

Consider Healthy Home Builders

When Building or Renovating

Contact builders and contractors who know how to keep VOCs to a minimum when working in your Healthy Home.

There are over 10,000 chemical compounds that can be classified as VOCs…many products such as building materials, cleaners, and personal care products use chemicals that can be classified as VOCs.”

Ian Cull, IAQA Technical Director

FINAL THOUGHTS FROM APRILAIRE

Avoiding VOCs can be tough considering how common they are to our everyday lives. That said, making the effort to maintain a household free of VOCs can help turn your Healthy Home into a safe haven filled with Healthy Air.

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