Voc Volatile Organic Compounds

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VolatileOrganic Compounds–VOCs
Retrofits for a Healthy Home and Business

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Any organic compound which evaporates readily to the atmosphere is called a volatile organic compound or VOC. They are either generated by materials as they are used or when the components oxidize.

Since people today spend most of their time at home or in an office, long-term exposure to VOCs in the indoor environment can contribute to sick building syndrome

VOC concentration in an indoor environment is two  to five times higher than the VOC concentrations outdoors. High indoor VOC levels are attributed to the low rates of air exchange between the indoor and outdoor environment as a result of tight-shut windows and the increasing use of air-conditioning in the south. During certain activities indoor levels of VOCs may reach 1,000 times that of the outside air.

Common artificial sources of VOCs include paint thinners, dry cleaning solvents, and some constituents of petroleum fuels (eg. gasoline and natural gas. They are often used in paint, carpet backing, plastics, and cosmetics such as nail polish. 

One super irritant is formeldahyde that is present in hundreds of building components, including wood and laminated furniture, shelving, and wall covers. It also evaporates from paints, varnishes, and chemicals used for sealing and finishing walls.

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