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VOCs and your family: Everything you need to know

VOCs in the home

You’ve likely heard of VOCs. But what exactly are they, and how can they impact your family? Here are details to help you and your loved ones stay safe at home.

What are VOCs?

VOC stands for volatile organic compound. A volatile organic compound is a chemical – naturally occurring or machine-made – that releases gas into the atmosphere at room temperature.

This instability is caused by high vapor pressure. Some examples of VOCs are:

  • Benzene
  • Acetone
  • Formaldehyde
  • Antifreeze

Inside your home, these compounds can release from air fresheners, furniture polish, new carpets, and newspapers, greatly reducing the quality of indoor air. Long-term exposure has negative consequences. Let’s explore ways to protect yourself and your family from these toxic substances. 

Improve home ventilation

Ventilating your home ensures that air circulates and toxic vapors can escape safely. Thus, open up windows in the daytime if possible.

This point is especially helpful if you have just repainted a section of your home or had new floor finishing installed. You can also promote air circulation by using a fan in rooms with insufficient ventilation.

Household plants are useful in absorbing carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen, keeping the air quality clean. Also, consider installing an air purifier in your home to reduce the concentration of these pollutants in the air.

Use an air filter

Filtering the air in your home gets rid of harmful substances such as:

  • Mold
  • Pollen
  • Bacteria

Specifically, a carbon filtration system can trap the gases produced by VOCs, keeping your indoor air clean and pollutant-free. Once the filter is saturated, change it so that it functions efficiently.

Carbon filters are manufactured with different specifications to function in rooms of different sizes. Thus, choose one suitable for your house.

Avoid harmful chemicals that release VOCs

To decrease the number of VOCs in your home, reduce how much you use them. Many household chemicals — cleaning fluids, pesticides, and varnishes – release VOCs.

Even seemingly harmless aerosols can be harmful, such as:

  • Air fresheners
  • Perfumes
  • Nail polish
  • Other beauty products

If you cannot avoid using these items, try to schedule your usage for when you will be away from home. For instance, if you have an insect infestation, spray the house in the morning just as everyone leaves for work or school.

This way, the toxic fumes have time to dissipate before you return. Also, look for natural VOC-free substitutes that you can use instead. There are a growing number of green beauty items available.

Have proper storage

Lastly, protect your family from VOCs by storing them out of general reach in airtight containers. By doing so, you can prevent accidental leaks and spills.

Remember, VOCs are unstable at room temperature, so keep the storage area cool and dry. Basement storage fits these requirements and is out of sight to young children, so they aren’t tempting to them.

Moreover, store new furniture outside your home for a few days to ensure that all harmful chemicals evaporate without polluting the indoor air. 

VOCs and your home

All the steps above taken together can help you rid your home of dangerous chemicals and improve the health of you and your family.

Do you have other questions about how to keep your home safe? What are some other environmental concerns today?

4 thoughts on “VOCs and your family: Everything you need to know”

  1. They are a bit of work, but plants are fab, not just for generating better air, but they enrich the decor with their beauty. I have about 40 plants ranging from small tree/shrub size to small potted plants. Included are 2 aloe plants, which come in very handy for health applications.

  2. Interesting read. I feel a little silly admitting this but I haven’t given that much thought to VOCs before now. Thanks for the suggestions.

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