Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Get Rid of VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) In Your Home

You may have heard about VOCs or Volatile Organic Compounds.  They’re essentially dangerous gases which are emitted from a variety of solids and liquids.  This article explores what VOCs can do to your health, where to find them, and how to avoid them.

VOCs and Your Health

Sources of volatile organic compounds. Source:...Sources of volatile organic compounds. Source: (Photo credit: Wikipedia)According to the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency), VOCs can cause:

* Eye, nose, and throat irritation
* Headaches
* Loss of coordination
* Nausea
* Damage to liver, kidney, and central nervous system
* Respiratory distress
* Cancer

Yes, VOCs cause a tremendous number of health issues and unfortunately, they aren’t just emitted when you’re exposed to them.  They can continue to emit toxic gasses for decades.  For example, paint is one item that emits VOCs and painted walls continue to emit these gasses for many years after the paint has first been applied.

Where Do VOCs Come From?

You might be surprised to find that a large number of items that emit VOCs are in your home already.  Common household VOC emitters include:

* Paints
* Paint strippers
* Solvents
* Wood preservatives
* Aerosol sprays
* Cleansers and disinfectants
* Moth repellents
* Air fresheners
* Petroleum fuels
* Hydraulic fluids
* Hobby supplies
* Dry-cleaned clothing
* Mattresses
* Varnished furniture
* Shower curtains
* The list goes on....

VOCs are the main contributor to indoor air pollution.  In fact, the EPA's Total Exposure Assessment Methodology found the most common organic pollutants are two to five times higher inside homes than outside.  The good news is that it’s fairly easy to avoid adding more VOCs into your home.  Use natural air fresheners like essential oils, or natural candles, rather than spray air fresheners.  And when painting or staining, use VOC-free or low VOC paint, and store fuels, adhesives and other VOC emitters outside in a well-ventilated area. (More helpful tips on this can be found here:

VOC emissions are one of the most dangerous contaminants inside your home.  They can cause serious health concerns and when thrown away, leech into our ground water and soil.  Start protecting yourself and your environment by avoiding all VOC-emitting products.  It’s the healthy and green way to go.

For a helpful and FREE checklist for identifying and reducing or eliminating toxins in your home, visit

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