Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are a class of pollutants emitted by processes or products. Some VOCs are harmful on their own, while others must interact with other air pollutants to produce harmful byproducts. In many cases, these air pollutants typically reside indoors where they can accumulate and cause unpleasant symptoms.
Monitoring the concentration of VOCs is important to avoid exposure to harmful air pollutants and maintain good indoor air quality. Read on to learn more about how VOCs affect indoor air quality.
What Are Indoor Sources of VOCs?
Did you know household products are a major source of VOCs? Although these air pollutants are naturally emitted by fuel-burning and other combustion activities, there are many household products that release VOCs inside homes. Some of these household items include:
- Aerosol sprays
- Paints and other solvents
- Air fresheners
- Stored fuel
- Wood preservatives
If you use any household products known to emit VOCs, then minimizing your usage and finding other eco-friendly alternatives can improve your indoor air quality. Limiting the number of indoor sources of VOCs is crucial for maintaining a healthy living environment.
How Do VOCs Impact Your Health?
When exposed to VOCs at high enough concentrations, you may start experiencing irritating symptoms because of the poor air quality. Some of these symptoms include:
- Irritated nose, mouth, or throat
- Skin irritation
If you notice these symptoms for a prolonged time while indoors, then there may be high concentrations of VOCs present in your home. Moreover, respiratory conditions or a sensitive immune system increase the health risks of continued exposure to poor air quality. Acceptable levels of VOCs in an indoor space is 0.3 to 0.5 mg/m3, with anything greater than .5mg/m3 approaching more dangerous levels.
How to Protect Yourself from VOCs
The best way to guarantee your safety and well-being from these harmful emissions is to start by conducting an air quality test. To make this easy, we offer a free air quality test to help you determine the quality of air inside your home. Our air quality test measures VOCs and other common indoor air pollutants such as mold, allergens, and particulate matter.
Once you accurately gauge the concentrations of air pollutants in your home, you can invest in an air purifier and focus on improving air circulation through proper ventilation.