The problem with volatile organic compounds or VOCs is exuberantly simple.
Those dealing with it every day don’t know they’re inhaling poison every day.
And the best part: many businesses that produce these harmful compounds don’t yet have dust collector booths to discourage its deterrent health effects.
So, if you’ve been thinking for some time now that you should not smell noxious odors in your workplace, then you’re right all along. To support your case, here’s everything you must know about VOCs and the bad news it brings.
A Gaseous Every Day Chemical Pollutant
VOCs come from working with certain liquid or solid materials. But, while the definition states only certain liquid or solid materials, you’re actually already affected whether you like it or not. According to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), VOCs are so persistent in the society today that you simply can’t avoid it completely. “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. All of these products can release organic compounds while you are using them, and, to some degree, when they are stored.”
Deadly, Invisible, and Untraceable
Harmful gas compounds are everywhere, but if you think there are higher concentrations on roads and commonly polluted areas, then you’re one step behind. Based on the EPA’s assessment study on harmful levels of pollutants, homes and workplaces have 2 to 5 times VOCs concentrations. Mainly, products that promote these chemical compounds include:
- Paints, paint strippers and other solvents
- Wood preservatives
- Moth repellents and air fresheners
- Stored fuels and automotive products
- Hobby supplies
- Dry-cleaned clothing
- 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.
Exposure to VOCs does more than just aggravating certain reactions. Depending on the length of exposure and concentration of the chemical in an area, it may cause loss of coordination, nervous system damage, and cancer.
For this reason, preventing contact with VOCs is your only choice. You can do this by wearing a mask for light exposure and incorporating dust/fume collector booth systems in the workplace and the home.