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Volatile Organic Compounds and Your Indoor Air

Posted on August 07, 2014
by Wendy Stackhouse

Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) are the chemicals that enter the air in your home by what is called “off-gassing.” New car smell? VOCs are what that smell really is.

If you have an older home and have not renovated recently, you may not have a lot of VOCs from your furniture and decorating supplies, but as fun as new things are, they can be damaging to your indoor environment.

Chemicals enter your indoor air from products like:

  • Paint
  • Varnish
  • Adhesives
  • Carpeting
  • Cleaners
  • New furniture
  • Craft supplies
  • Permanent markers
  • Dry cleaning solution (at home or from the cleaners)

and many other things we often find in our homes.

Why worry about VOCs?

Health problems that can result from exposure to VOCs include:

  • Eye, nose, and throat irritation
  • Headaches
  • Loss of coordination
  • Nausea
  • Liver, kidney and central nervous system damage
  • Cancer

The Indoor Air Quality Association has a great video about about the problems associated with VOCs. AirTek is a proud member of the IAQA.

How can I reduce VOCs and air pollution in my home?

  • Choose no or low-VOC paints when you redecorate.
  • Unwrap new furniture outside and leave it outside for a few days before putting it in the house to allow more of the chemicals to be released outdoors.
  • Purchase green cleaning supplies or make your own.
  • Get some houseplants–many plants extract chemical contaminants from the air.
  • Use your ventilation system–Often chemicals and other pollutants can get into our homes but they can’t get out again. turn on fans, open windows when feasible.
  • Clean your ducts–Chemicals, bacteria and other contaminants can be lurking in your ducts and continue to circulate around your home if ducts are dirty or clogged.

At AirTek, we are always thinking about your indoor air and your health. If you need help making sure that your indoor air is as clean and contaminant free as possible, contact AirTek!

We would love you to Like us on Facebook or Follow us @AirTekCA on Twitter! We post, share, Tweet and Retweet about air quality issues every day and are also there to answer any questions you might have. Join the conversation!

Wendy Stackhouse is the Online Community Manager for AirTek and our parent company, Alliance Environmental Group, which offers residential and commercial cleaning, pest control, demolition, structural pasteurization and many other environmental challenges. Check out our new website!

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