The What and Why of VOCs in Indoor Air
VOCs or Volatile Organic Compounds are organic chemicals released from natural sources that have a high vapor pressure when exposed to normal room temperature.
The “Total Exposure Assessment Methodology” (TEAM) Study from the EPA’s Office of Research and Development claimed that over a dozen of common organic pollutants were found to be 2 to 5 times higher indoors, irrespective of their rural or industrial surrounding. Studies indicate that the increased use of organic chemicals in households has eventually led to people being exposed to high levels of pollutants, with high concentrations of the same persisting in the indoor air for a long-time span.
Though, all VOCs do not result in severe health adversities, some of them have been observed to trigger life taking symptoms and intolerable levels of discomfort. The effects can be classified into both short term as well as long term depending on the time span of a person’s exposure to them. VOCS can be released both when a product is in storage or during its usage, though its concentration levels decrease with the age of the product.
The concentration of VOC levels is much higher in the indoor air as compared to outdoors.
Categories of VOC Contaminants
Regular VOC contaminants can be divided into the following main categories:
- Combustion Products
- Tobacco Smoke
- Heavy Metals
- Chemical Contaminants
Main Sources of VOCs
VOCS are released into indoor air through several sources which include common consumer household products like:
- Air Fresheners
- Dry Cleaning Fluids
- Copy Machines and Printers
- Wood Preservatives
- Thinners and Paints
An intense strong chemical smell in consumer products is an indication of the presence of VOCs, though the levels of concentration might vary individually. Though mostly considered to be harmful, VOCs are also responsible for the emission of sweet smells in perfumes and a few other consumer products. A few common examples of VOCs we are exposed to in our daily lives include – xylene, methylene chloride, formaldehyde, ethylene glycol, toluene and 1,3-butadiene.
Adverse Health Effects of VOCs
Long Term Effects
Exposure to VOCs can lead to a host of long-term health effects in an individual, which often include symptoms that seem quite normal like regular leg cramps or a skin reaction. Spending long hours in a VOC contaminated indoor environment can lead to chest tightness, respiratory disorders, inexplicable allergies and irregularities in breathing. Other long-term health hazards of VOC contamination include – hearing loss, asthma, chronic learning deficits, hyperactivity, personality change, lung cancer and reduced attention span. Lung cancer is another grave concern for people exposed to long VOCs for prolonged time periods.
The above-mentioned effects of VOCs are however not just limited to adults. Pregnant women and babies have high risks of being affected by the same, with the most common symptoms being lower weight during birth and severe learning disabilities in children.
Short Term Effects
Some short-term effect of being exposed to indoor air VOCs might be as common as headaches and dizziness. A combination of carbon monoxide from sources like heating systems, ovens and tobacco smoke can vastly affect the indoor air quality of your home. It results in the buildup of carboxyhemoglobin in the blood, which can cause sudden deaths if saturation levels in blood reach more than 60 per cent.
The symptoms of VOC exposure can be worse in people with asthmatic disorders or individuals who are sensitive to chemicals. Since VOCs refer to a group of chemicals and not an individual one, the levels of toxicity and potential effect on the health will vary.
VOCs and Cancer
VOCs like Benzene and Formaldehyde have been proven to be probable human carcinogens or cancer-causing agents. As per experiments, both animals and humans, when exposed to a certain specific VOC contaminated indoor air, were detected with cancer or showed traces of carcinogens in their blood. The estimates of these experiments range from high to low doses of pollutants in indoor air. The models of these experiments are usually designed to estimate the risks in individual entities. As per observations, the common assumption remains that potential cancer risks in humans and animals is directly proportional to the magnitude of VOC exposure of an entity without any levels of threshold concentration.
Overview of Indoor Air Cleanup
- Prior Testing
To ensure your family or employees, depending on the scenario, a clean indoor air environment, our team conducts a quality test before beginning any work. Through this, we ascertain the allergens present in the specific area to understand the issues that need to be tackled. We test the allergens, gas levels, ventilation, and humidity to provide an appropriate cleanup to give the clean air you deserve.
- Advance Estimate of Service
We believe in complete transparency with our esteemed customers. Once we determine the kind and extent of cleanup required, you will get an estimate of the expected cost of our service. Be rest assured that there will be no hidden charges. We will be more than happy to clarify all your queries and doubts.
- Efficient Cleaning Services
After identifying the sources of your indoor air quality concerns, we use advanced, state-of-the-art equipment to clean up the indoor air. We use air purifiers, air cleaners as well as filtration and ventilation equipment for this purpose. Our experienced professionals will create a customized plan to make sure that your indoor air is safe, pure, and clean.
Are you experiencing frequent exposure to VOCs? Do you suspect poor air quality within the confines of your property? Would you like immediate cleanup to tackle the problem?
Call ECOS at 888-375-3267 today!
We are committed to providing reliable services to make your life safer, easier, and better.
Why Choose ECOS?
- We have a live operator on call 24/7 to schedule your project (Monday through Sunday).
- Our services are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and 365 days a year.
- We give topmost priority to the health and safety of our clients.
- Our modern equipment is safe for people, animals, and sensitive materials.
- Our technicians are friendly and helpful.
- We have years of professional experience in the industry and are experts.
- We have no hidden charges and offer competitive pricing.