Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) are a large group of chemicals that are found in many products we use to build and maintain our homes. Once these chemicals are in our homes, they are released or “off-gassed” into the indoor air we breathe. It is important to know that smelling is not a good indicator of the health risks associated with VOCs as many are odorless and may or may not be able to be smelled
What are the Health risks of VOCs in my home?
The risk of health effects from inhaling any chemical depends on how much is in the air, how long and how often a person is exposed.
Exposure to low levels of VOCs for long periods of time may increase the risk of developing health issues or exacerbate previous health conditions. Several studies suggest that exposure to VOCs may make symptoms worse for people with asthma or who are particularly sensitive to chemicals.
It is important to remember that VOCs refer to a group of chemicals. Each chemical has its own toxicity and potential for causing different health effects.
Common symptoms of exposure to HIGH levels of VOCs include:
Chronic exposures can cause:
What are some common types of material or products that can produce harmful VOCs?
VOC's can be found in numerous products, including, but not limited to:
Home & Personal Care Products
How do I know if my house has VOCs?
You should have your house tested by a professional indoor air quality consultant familiar with VOC testing to determine if VOCs are present. Your assessor will take samples of the air using specialized equipment. Samples are then sent to a laboratory to be analyzed. A detailed report identifying which VOCs are present and possible sources.
What should I do if VOCs are found in my home or building?
Once VOCs are identified, your indoor air quality consultant will work with you on an action plan.