. A Comprehensive Guide To Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) And How To
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A Comprehensive Guide To Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) And How To Safely Clean Your Home
July 8, 2022
Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) And A Clean Home

Introduction

This guide will introduce you to the subject of volatile organic compounds, or VOCs. These chemicals are found in many products including paints, adhesives, and boutique products. Used improperly, these chemicals can harm you and your loved ones. Continue reading to learn more about these chemicals and their risks. 

Volatile organic compounds are a major concern in the home. They’re not just dangerous in high concentrations, they’re also very difficult to remove safely. That is why it is important to understand these substances and how to safely clean your home with them. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll discuss what VOCs are, how they can affect your health and the environment, and how to clean your home using safe, soap-free cleaning methods.

Before we dive into the subject of VOCs, let’s first talk about what they are.

What Are Volatile Organic Compounds?

Volatile organic compounds are gases that can enter the air from household products. Although they’re not toxic in their pure state, they can react with other gases to form pollutants. VOCs are commonly found in both indoor and outdoor environments, and some sources continue to produce them even after they’ve been stored or transported. They can cause cancer in humans and animals, so preventing improper exposure to VOCs is vital for protecting public health.

There are two ways to label VOCs: as occurrences or as identities. A VOC occurrence refers to the number of individual VOCs in one product. A VOC identity is represented by a compound’s CAS number, which is the chemical’s official name. Choosing products with low VOC content is better for both your health and the environment. There are several classes of these compounds The hazard level of VOCs in cleaning products varies depending on the product’s composition. 

Compared to volatile organic compounds, semi-volatile organic compounds (SVOCs) are less likely to vaporize and more likely to dissolve in water. Formaldehyde is an example of an SVOC because it has both gaseous and liquid forms of emissions when heated to release its heat energy. This list includes some everyday substances like acetone and ethanol (ethyl alcohol).

What Products Contain VOCs?

Many of the common chemicals we use in our homes and businesses contain VOCs, such as fragranced products and many cleaning products, as well as dry-cleaned clothing. They contribute to the formation of ground-level ozone. In addition to this, the disposal of these compounds can also contribute to their presence in drinking water. A majority of VOCs are released from leaking underground storage tanks. The EPA has established guidelines for determining which substances are most toxic and which are safe to use. Ultimately, it is up to the public to take measures to prevent the release of VOCs to their environment.

VOCs are chemical substances with high vapor pressure and low solubility in water. Generally, VOCs are man-made and are used in paint manufacturing, pharmaceutical manufacturing, and refrigerant production. These compounds are also used in industrial solvents and fuel oxygenates. In recent studies, researchers have found that common VOC levels in homes average 2 to 5 times higher indoors than outdoors. They’re present in everyday products such as paint thinners, cleaning agents, glues and adhesives, and other common household items.

Other common VOCs include methylene chloride, ethanol, and dichloromethane. Dichloromethane is present in paint removers, aerosol solvents, and flame retardant chemicals. Although these substances are dangerous when ingested in large amounts, they don’t last long in the air. Therefore, they should be used in well-ventilated areas. You can check the labels of these products for details.

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Environmental Health Perspectives: How Do Volatile Organic Compounds Affect the Environment and Our Health?

If you’re wondering how VOCs affect your health, you’re not alone. Different types of VOCs can cause long-term health problems depending on the level and duration of exposure. Exposure to these air pollutants can worsen existing respiratory symptoms. Other types of VOCs can damage the liver or kidneys. Prolonged exposure to certain VOCs can even cause cancer. This is why you should limit your exposure, and look for products that have low or no VOCs in their labels.

Exposure to some VOCs is associated with short-term effects such as headaches, dizziness, nausea, and eye irritation. While exposure to more VOCs is associated with greater risk of cancer, the risk is low in short-term exposures. Some VOCs are so toxic that even the most low-level exposure can lead to serious health consequences. If you are concerned about your health, check for low-VOC products on the label. A Eurofins certification is a good indicator of a product with low occurrence of VOCs.

These compounds can contribute to air pollution, which can cause health problems such as asthma and cardiovascular disease. They can also harm plants and animals and exacerbate climate change.

VOCs are highly toxic organic chemicals that react with other substances in the air to produce pollutants. Indoor air contains up to two times more VOCs than outdoors, and the amount depends on the number of products and their rate of release.  Many VOCs have a tendency to react with oxygen. As such, they tend to be unstable and flammable. 

Volatile organic compound examples include pesticides, plasticizers, and fire retardants. One of the most common VOCs is formaldehyde, which is found in cosmetic and household products as a preservative. 

VOCs are present in the air due to incomplete combustion and unintended evaporation, thus affecting indoor air quality. Plants, particularly tropical forests, produce 90 percent of the total VOCs in the atmosphere. These chemicals play a vital role in regulating the air quality of the rainforest and keeping the atmosphere clean by reacting with other pollutants. In areas without any plant life, VOCs are absent. However, these compounds are present in some products we use every day.

VOCs are also produced in the body by various metabolic pathways, including our blood, feces, skin, and urine. Abnormal concentrations of VOCs may give insight into disease progression for conditions like asthma and cancer. Therefore, they can be used in diagnostic tests. The human body excretes large quantities of VOCs, which are present in. 

Adverse Health Effects of VOCs Exposure

Although there are many dangers associated with volatile organic compounds, the most prominent and serious health consequences relate to their impact on chronic respiratory problems and even lung cancer. Compared to smoking, studies have found that levels of radon is the second most common cause of lung cancer in the United States. The National Cancer Institute estimates that radon contributes to between 15,000 and 22,000 lung cancer-related deaths annually. This can cause cancer in animals as well.

While VOCs do pose a risk to human health, it’s important to keep in mind that this risk is typically low at typical exposure levels. However, there are other factors to consider when choosing cleaning products, such as the intrinsic hazard of volatile organic compounds and other important product attributes.

In order to minimize the potential for harm, it’s important to store and handle chemicals properly. You should also avoid exposing people or animals to these chemicals unnecessarily. Keep in mind that these risks, however small, are still nonzero.

Some common VOCs are formaldehyde and terpenes, which are found in many molded plastics and lacquer. You can avoid these by choosing BPA-free plastics and using polyurethanes made from plant-based materials. If you use a gas stove, ensure that the room is well-ventilated. You should also avoid burning wood indoors, unless it is an extremely small amount.

What are the symptoms of exposure to volatile organic compounds?

Breathing in low levels of VOCs for long periods of time may increase some people’s risk of health problems. Each chemical has its own toxicity and potential for causing different health effects.

There are common symptoms of exposure to HIGH levels of VOCs, including: 

·        Headaches

·        Nausea/vomiting 

·        Dizziness 

·        Worsening asthma symptoms

If you are experiencing symptoms, contact your doctor.

Are You Using Volatile Organic Compounds to Clean Your Home?

Burning scented consumer goods emits VOCs. The more volatile a compound is are, the higher it’s potential for being emitted. 

The amount of VOCs in common products is usually low, but federal standards do not regulate VOC levels in non-industrial products. The highest percentages of VOCs are typically found in fragrances and other household cleaning products. 

While using green cleaning products may help reduce VOC exposure, these products can contain as many hazardous chemicals as standard products. To reduce the risk of VOC exposure in your home, read product labels carefully. Most VOCs have names that end in “ene,” “ane,” or “one.” If you can identify products with these chemical names, avoid them. These include acetone, butane, and benzene. You can also choose to buy a VOC-free alternative to these products

If you do have to use VOCs, consider opening a window or turning on an air filter if you have one. Insufficient ventilation can cause VOCs to accumulate in a building, compromising air quality. 

Solutions for Reducing or Eliminating VOC Exposure

You can reduce or eliminate exposure to VOCs by using best practices. For example, if you buy new furniture, allow it to air out before moving into the home. Using ventilation in each room can help flush out VOCs from the air. You can also run exhaust fans to vent high-VOC air outside.

The best way to reduce your exposure is through personal protective equipment or PPE. This includes things like masks and respirators that protect your lungs from harmful vapors.

If you can’t avoid using cleaning supplies that contain volatile organic compounds, make sure you store them outside of the work area and keep the amount of methylene chloride in them as low as possible. This will help lower VOC levels within the facility’s ventilation system and limit everyone’s exposure. A quality air monitor can also be used at any time to test for acceptable levels of VOCs in the workplace. Make sure it is re-tested every six months for proper calibration.

If you’re concerned about volatile organic compounds in your home, the EPA offers these steps: review LEED certification standards for suitable products; look for third-party certifications as a signpost for suitable products; be mindful of paint containers you keep inside your home and store them elsewhere if possible; when using VOC-containing products, make sure to give your home plenty of fresh air; dispose of unused or little-used containers safely.

Aside from using ventilation, you can reduce the amount of VOC-producing products in your home. Keep in mind that any unneeded chemicals must be stored properly to avoid leaking them into the air. If you store unneeded chemicals in your home, it is recommended to properly dispose of them at household hazardous waste disposal sites. Lastly, you should opt for low-VOC paints and furnishings if you are sensitive to VOCs.

Never mix household care products unless directed on the label. Contact GHHI if you’re not sure how to keep your home safe from volatile organic compounds.

Take Steps to Reduce Your Use

Volatile organic compounds are released into the air when products containing them are used or worn. These chemicals can also evaporate from their containers, even when they are sealed. Reduce your use of these products by using them in well-ventilated spaces or outdoors. You can also use them in a spray bottle to reduce the amount of vapors released into the air.

Practice Safe Storage

The most common ways to avoid hazardous VOCs is by using natural products or chemical free cleaning and personal care items. 

Increase Ventilation

Open windows or use fans whenever possible to create and maintain a well ventilated space.

Purchase Wisely

It is important to purchase the right products, in order to avoid Volatile Organic Compounds. There are many household items that contain VOCs and they can be found anywhere from furniture polish to varnish. Water-based alternatives to these products are much less volatile—search for products that meet Green Seal standards and are specifically labeled “Low VOC” or “NO VOC.” Products like Soap Free Procyon do not have any of these harmful chemicals.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has a list of products that have VOCs and the occurrence of VOCs in each product. You can find this information on their website at www.epa.gov/opptintr/vapor.

The EPA also has a list of products that are labeled as “Low-VOC.” You can find this information on their website at www.epa.gov/opptintr/vapor.

Safer Cleaning without VOCs: Benefits of Using a Green Cleaner

If you’re looking for a greener alternative to conventional cleaning products, there are plenty of great options out there that don’t rely on harsh chemicals. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

-Buy only what you need to complete your project and dispose of any unused waste properly.

-Follow manufacturers’ instructions when using cleaning products, especially if they have specific directions on how to use them with children or pets in mind

Green cleaning has become more popular in recent years as people have become more aware of the health and environmental risks of traditional chemical-based cleaners. Green cleaning is a term used for methods and products that are designed to reduce the environmental impact of cleaning. This can be done by using products that are less toxic, biodegradable, non-flammable, or made from renewable resources.

There are many benefits to using green cleaners: they are safer for both people and the environment, they often cost less in the long run because they last longer, and they smell better than traditional chemical-based cleaners. In addition, green cleaning helps protect against indoor air pollution, which can cause a variety of health problems. Switch to natural brands like Soap Free PROCYON for cleaning and begin taking steps to reduce exposure to harmful chemicals. Try diffusing essential oils or homemade potpourri instead of chemical-laden air fresheners

Green cleaning products work in a variety of ways. Some use microfiber cloths to clean surfaces, while others rely on water and pressure alone. Many green cleaners also use enzymes or other natural ingredients to break down dirt and grease. What’s more, many green cleaners are biodegradable and environmentally friendly, making them safe for both your home and the environment. They’re also easy to use and don’t require special disposal methods, so you’ll never have to worry about storing a large amount of cleaning liquid.

Since green cleaning products will usually contain fewer chemicals than traditional cleaning products, but you will have to use more elbow grease to remove stubborn stains. However, manufacturers are trying to improve green cleaning products so they can compete with traditional cleaning products and air fresheners. Some manufacturers are making great progress in creating green products that perform just as well. These companies have claimed that their products are safe in small amounts and that using several in a single cleaning session doesn’t pose a health risk..

Are there any risks associated with green cleaning?

Green cleaning has become more and more popular in recent years as people have become more aware of the dangers of traditional household chemicals. While green cleaners may seem like a safer alternative, there are some risks associated with them.

The main risk with using green cleaners is that people may not use them properly. If you don’t read the instructions carefully or mix the wrong ingredients together, you could end up with a cleaner that’s just as dangerous as the ones you’re trying to avoid.  Some green consumer products can be harmful if ingested by pets or children, so it’s important to take care when using them and to keep any chemicals out of reach of small hands and paws.

Benefits of Using Soap Free PROCYON: No VOCs

If you’re looking for a green cleaning solution, then you’ve probably heard of Soap Free PROCYON (or Soapfree) products. This brand of natural cleaners is used in homes all over the world. Museums, allergenic clinics, hospitals, daycare centers, schools, and even hotels use SoapFree PROCYON. Its unique formula eliminates harmful toxins from your cleaning products and leaves your home sparkling.

Soap Free PROCYON is a non-toxic cleaning solution made by Plus Manufacturing, Inc., a leader in green cleaning for almost four decades. Plus Manufacturing products are safe for your home and pets, and are certified by the Carpet and Rug Institute, Green Seal, and Woolsafe Organisation. They’re eco-friendly and effective, which make them the product of choice for green cleaning companies and consumers.

Soap Free PROCYON uses detergent-free, water-softening and food-grade cleaners to clean your carpets. Because they’re soap-free, they don’t contain toxic chemicals and can be easily rinsed out of your carpet. PROCYON leaves your carpet smelling great and does not leave behind a lingering odors or residues.

PROCYON is a green-certified, indoor air-quality approved cleaner. Unlike conventional detergents, it is effective for cleaning dirty floors and reducing the risk of slip and fall accidents. In addition, the soap-free formula will help prevent future accidents and protect the environment.

Most importantly, Soap Free PROCYON products contain no VOCs.

Conclusion

While VOCs are found naturally, over 25% of the VOCs in the air are produced by anthropogenic activities. These include the extraction and burning of fossil fuels, chemical processes, and industrial processes. Commercial sources of VOCs include stoves, water heaters, and pesticides. While some VOCs are toxic, others are not. Fortunately, EPA regulations and the scientific community are starting to recognize their toxic effects. Being aware of VOCs and their dangers and taking active steps to minimize your exposure to them helps protect both you and the environment. 

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