Many VOCs are human-made chemicals that are used and produced in the manufacture of paints, pharmaceuticals, and refrigerants.
The Science of VOCs
Volatile organic compounds are compounds that have a high vapor pressure and low water solubility. Many VOCs are human-made chemicals that are used and produced in the manufacture of paints, pharmaceuticals, and refrigerants. VOCs typically are industrial solvents, such as trichloroethylene; fuel oxygenates, such as methyl tert-butyl ether (MTBE); or by-products produced by chlorination in water treatment, such as chloroform. VOCs are often components of petroleum fuels, hydraulic fluids, paint thinners, and dry cleaning agents. VOCs are also common ground-water contaminants in many areas, such as Wichita, Kansas.
Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are emitted as gases from certain solids or liquids. VOCs include a variety of chemicals, some of which may have short- and long-term adverse health effects for residents of areas of Hutchinson, Kansas. Concentrations of many VOCs are consistently higher indoors (up to ten times higher) than outdoors. VOCs are emitted by a wide array of products numbering in the thousands. Examples include: paints and lacquers, paint strippers, cleaning supplies, pesticides, building materials and furnishings, office equipment such as copiers and printers, correction fluids and carbonless copy paper, graphics and craft materials including glues and adhesives, permanent markers, and photographic solutions.
Organic chemicals are widely used as ingredients in household products. Paints, varnishes, and wax all contain organic solvents, as do many cleaning, disinfecting, cosmetic, degreasing, and hobby products. Fuels are made up of organic chemicals. In Newton, Kansas, all of these products can release organic compounds while you are using them, and, to some degree, when they are stored.
How Common Are These Chemicals?
The EPA’s Total Exposure Assessment Methodology (TEAM) studies found levels of about a dozen common organic pollutants to be 2 to 5 times higher inside homes than outside, regardless of whether the homes were located in rural or highly industrial areas. Additional TEAM studies indicate that while people are using products containing organic chemicals, they can expose themselves and others to very high pollutant levels, and elevated concentrations can persist in the air long after the activity is completed.
For example, formaldehyde is one of the most commonly found VOCs in Derby, Kansas. It is used in the manufacture of building materials, furniture and other household products. Other VOCs often found in household products include:
Some of these airborne chemicals may cause odors — like the smells you would notice from a fresh coat of paint, new carpet or automobile fuel — but other VOCs may be odorless. Because these chemicals are so commonly used in manufacturing and household products in Park City, Kansas, indoor VOC concentrations can accumulate quickly, sometimes reaching levels up to ten times higher than those found outdoors. To give you an idea of how common this type of pollution is, here is a sample list of products that can contain VOCs:
- Building materials
- Wood preservatives
- Household cleaners and disinfectants
- Tobacco smoke
- Dry cleaning chemicals
- Fuel and other automotive products
- Paints, paint strippers, varnishes and solvents
- Aerosol sprays
- Hobby and craft supplies
- Air fresheners
- Copiers, printers and other office equipment
- Glues, adhesives and permanent markers
Quite frankly, it might seem more difficult to find products without VOCs than ones with them. So, the question is — how concerned should you be about the level of VOCs in your home? Call FreshCo today to answer your questions and set up a risk assessment if you are worried about your air quality!
“This was the 2nd time we hired Freshco to clean up mold. They do a great job! Very thorough.”
— Sheena T. in Wichita, KS