Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs): Know How It Affects Your Health

Do you completely understand the term Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)?

VOCs are chemicals and gases that are most commonly found in the household or indoor living spaces. It can be anything from a candle to that new furniture you got for your living room. VOCs can also be in your cleaning supplies or in the nail paint that you recently purchased online.

Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) have the potential to pollute your indoor air faster than the outdoor air. While the concentration of the VOCs sources could vary, it is important to learn about the danger it can pose to your wellbeing.

The common form of volatile organic compounds includes benzene, formaldehyde, and toluene.

Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs): In your Home & Offices

Inhaling too much volatile organic compounds is dangerous. Exposure to volatile organic compound usually happens when you inhale. When indoor air is exposed to harmful air pollutants, concentration and productivity level of a person decreases naturally. That is when your respiratory health issues also get affected.

Read – Here are the 10 Main Causes of Air Pollution

Since humans spend 90% of their time living indoors – home and office, inhaling high level of airborne particles is a common way to introduce bacteria in your bloodstreams.

Some of the common sources of VOCs found indoors are as following:

  1. Paints and other solvents
  2. Wood varnishes and finishes
  3. Aerosol sprays
  4. Cleansers and disinfectants
  5. Moth repellents and air fresheners
  6. Stored fuels and automotive products
  7. Hobby supplies, including graphics and craft materials including glues and adhesives, permanent markers and photographic solutions
  8. Dry-cleaned clothing
  9. Cosmetics and deodorants
  10. Pesticide
  11. Building materials and furnishings
  12. Flooring, carpet, pressed wood products
  13. Office equipment such as copiers and printers, correction fluids and carbonless copy paper
  14. Wood burning stoves and other burning items like candles
  15. Tobacco smoke

How do Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) affect your health?

Being exposed to air pollution for too long can cause a number of health risks. American Lung Association claims that some Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) are more harmful by themselves than mixing with existing air particles. There are some volatile organic compounds which are directly interlinked with health issues – both short and long term.

Here are some health risks that one needs to be extra cautious of:

Short term health issues:

  1. Eye irritation
  2. Respiratory issues
  3. Headaches
  4. Dizziness
  5. Visual disorder
  6. Slow decision-making skills
  7. Nausea

Long term health issues:

  1. Liver and kidney damage
  2. Failure of the central nervous system
  3. Cancer
  4. Chronic fatigue
  5. Memory loss
  6. Loss of coordination
  7. Deteriorating of mental health conditions and ADL (activities of daily living)

Read Indoor Air Quality Parameters That Help You Monitor Indoor Air Pollution

How can you reduce volatile organic compounds (VOCs)?

To maintain a healthy indoor surrounding: it is important to reduce indoor air pollutants. One of the best ways to do is to avoid using products that contain a high level of VOCs. There are times when we unknowingly use products that have high concentrations of volatile organic compounds. Hence, it is important to be well aware of the products that may contain airborne chemicals.

With the help of indoor air quality monitors that have TVOC/VOC sensors, can help you track the level of volatile organic compounds. These monitors also tell the VOCs hotspot along with the concentration present in the air. The air quality sensors are quite useful both for residential or commercial purposes. 

Read – Know How Invisible Air Pollution Is Extremely Dangerous For Your Children

Here are some other ways you can reduce VOCs from your indoors:
  • Store used chemical products in a storage area or garage – as they release Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) in the air which can be dangerous to people of all age group.
  • Dispose of unused products that contain a high level of chemical to reduce the exposure to VOCs.
  • Opt to buy products which are organic and eco-friendly.
  • DIY (Do-It-Yourself) products are not only a safe option but also promote creativity.
  • Use air purifiers with HEPA filter and activated carbon filter as they are efficient in eliminating airborne particles, various form of dangerous gases and smoke.

How are you maintaining your indoor air quality? If you are looking for healthy air suggestion, visit www.aqi.in for more. Now you can download our app from your app store. Know the real-time air quality anytime anywhere. 

Did you find this article useful? Have anything to add? Write to us in the comment section. 

Deepshikha Deb

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