Volatile Organic Compounds

Many common products around the home (solvents, fragrances and cosmetics, carpeting, furniture, paint, hobby products, cooking, cleaning agents, pesticides, new flooring, tobacco smoke, and car exhaust) emit volatile organic compounds (VOCs, also known as odors ) into the air. Inside your home, these compounds can freely mix together. Individual VOCs are known to be harmful to human health and some are known carcinogens, such as formaldehyde. Introduction of new furnishings can be a major source of VOCs in the home.

AirAdvice indoor air quality tips:

  • Avoid using particleboard, which often contains glues that give off VOCs.
  • Air out dry-cleaned items outside the home.
  • When remodeling, use gypsum, plaster or wood. Avoid materials made of plastic or wood fiber.
  • Use low VOC paints and air out rooms after painting.
  • Avoid using aerosol products and use low VOC cleaners.
  • Use glues and solvents only in a well-ventilated area.
  • Never leave a car, truck, lawnmower or other gasoline-powered machine running in an enclosed space.
  • Store recycling materials out of the home or keep them to a minimum when stored indoors.
  • Make sure the air intake for your home’s heating and cooling system is well above ground and upwind of local pollution sources.