Every day, we are surrounded by various chemicals, many of which we are unaware of. One class of chemicals that has gained increasing attention in recent years is volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Read on to discover what VOCs are, where they are found, their health effects, and how to reduce your exposure to them.
Where VOCs Are Found
Volatile organic compounds are chemicals that can easily evaporate into the air at room temperature. They are commonly found in many products we use daily, such as paints, cleaning supplies, pesticides, and printers. VOCs can also be released from natural sources such as plants and trees.
Exposure to VOCs can have various health effects, depending on the type and amount of VOCs one is exposed to. Here are some common examples of VOCs and their potential health effects.
Formaldehyde is found in building materials, furniture, and household products. Formaldehyde can cause eye, nose, and throat irritation and trigger asthma and allergies.
Benzene is found in gasoline, tobacco smoke, and plastics. Benzene is a known carcinogen that can cause leukemia and other cancers.
Acetone is usually found in nail polish remover, paint thinner, and adhesives. Acetone can cause eye and skin irritation and may also affect the nervous system.
Reduce Your Exposure to VOCs
To reduce your exposure to VOCs, you can start by choosing products with low levels of VOCs or labeled as VOC-free. This includes paints, adhesives, and cleaning supplies. When using these products, it’s also important to follow the instructions carefully and use them in well-ventilated areas. Opening windows or using a fan can help circulate the air and reduce the concentration of VOCs indoors.
Another way to reduce exposure to VOCs is to limit the use of certain products that emit high levels of VOCs. For example, air fresheners and scented candles can release large amounts of VOCs into the air. Choosing fragrance-free alternatives or using natural essential oils for scent can help to reduce exposure.
Contact the Professionals
At Complete Heating and Cooling, we have been serving the residents of Fredericksburg, VA since 2001. We install, maintain, and repair heating and cooling systems. We are also indoor air quality experts.
Contact Complete Heating and Cooling today so that one of our technicians can perform an indoor air quality analysis of your home. If any issues are detected we can offer you solutions, such as installing a whole-home air cleaner in your HVAC system.