Be Aware of VOCs and Their Effects

Originally published in July 2018

VOCs, or volatile organic compounds, are a wide range of harmful gases typically emitted from certain liquids or solids. While there are many, many types of VOCs, two that most people are familiar with are ethanol and acetone. Fortunately, some HVAC air filters are designed to trap VOC particles — effectively removing them from your Lewiston, PA home’s air and improving indoor air quality.

Sources of VOCs

Ever get a whiff of nail polish remover and feel your eyes water a little bit? That would be from acetone. Many common household products have VOCs, and while it’s possible to find VOC-free alternatives to many of these products, chances are that you’re going to have to deal with them at some point or another. Here is a small sample of products that often contain VOCs:

  • paints
  • dish detergent
  • candles
  • glue and other adhesives
  • chlorinated tap water
  • carpeting

Health Effects of VOCs

Most of the time, a small to moderate exposure to VOCs won’t cause any noticeable symptoms. However, heavy or long-term exposure can cause some mild issues like headaches and respiratory inflammation. Certain VOCs are even known to cause cancer. It’s possible that that list will increase over time as researchers conduct additional studies. In other words, VOCs have no health benefits but a variety of risks, so it’s best to limit your exposure whenever possible.

How to Protect Against VOCs

It’s practically impossible to avoid volatile organic compounds, but a new HVAC air filter can quickly trap VOC particles. For periods of heavy exposure, such as painting a room or mopping the entire house with cleaning chemicals, consider opening up a window to help the VOCs air out.

Interested in further improving your home’s indoor air quality? Take a look at our air conditioning services, or give us a call at (814) 424-9119.

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