VOCs and The Silent Sources Of Pollution

Despite positive associations we have towards the word “organic”, Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) far from positive. VOCs are responsible for many ailments, mild and severe, and they are more prevalent than you imagine. To make things worse, they are usually hidden in plain sight, and come from rather unsuspecting sources.

What are VOCs?

VOCs are substances that are emitted as gases, making them all the harder to avoid. Long-term exposure to them can cause a series of debilitating illnesses.

Common types of VOCs and its effects:

  • Benzene: Damages the bone marrow, causing a decrease in red blood cells which leads to anemia.
  • Formaldehyde: Irritates the eyes, nose, throat and skin. Long-term exposure can cause cancer.
  • Toluene: Damages the respiratory tract and central nervous system.
  • Carbon disulphide: Damages the reproductive system.
  • Butane: Depresses the central nervous system.

Where do they exist?

You might be thinking that VOCs aren’t going to affect you because you take careful steps to never let them into your home. But the truth is that you already have.

VOCs are present in many household products: traditional paints, cleaning supplies, insect repellents and fuels- all of which are heavily present in our daily lives.

In fact, according to a study by the United States Environmental Protection Agency, VOC levels are two to five times higher indoors than outdoors, and after activities that involve products that contain VOCs, E.g. paint stripping, the levels escalate 1000 fold.

Even seemingly harmless cosmetics, grooming and personal care products, such as nail polish, hairspray, perfume, body wash and shampoo (yes, even the organic ones) release VOCs to the environment. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in the U.S. concluded in a study  that contribution of air pollution from these chemical products are estimated to be at the same level as that of vehicle emission.

Everyday products where VOCs are found:

  • Traditional paints
  • Varnishes
  • Paint strippers
  • Wood preservatives
  • Aerosol sprays
  • Cleansers
  • Disinfectants
  • Moth repellents
  • Air Fresheners
  • Automotive products
  • Fuels
  • Insecticides

 

Be educated about VOCs and stay safe from the harmful effects of indoor air pollution –  think twice about the products you use at home!

Read our “How It Works” Section to find out how our paint breaks down VOCs and keep your indoor environment clean and healthy.