Harmful volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are chemicals found in everyday items such as carpeting and cosmetics that evaporate at room temperature. You should make every effort to rid your home of these VOCs as the impact on your health can range from irritations to more serious reactions.
Besides the above, VOCs also evaporate from other common materials, including:
- Air fresheners
- Moth balls
- Vinyl flooring, carpeting and their adhesives
- Solvents and cleaning or disinfecting chemicals
- Composite wood
- Sealing caulks and varnishes
- Wood-burning stoves and non-electric space heaters
Exhaust from a vehicle left idling in an attached garage, and smoking can increase your home’s level of volatile organic compounds and carbon monoxide (CO). Short-term VOC exposure can cause headaches and dizziness; eye, nose and throat irritation, nausea and vomiting, and increased allergies or asthma symptoms. Long-term exposure can damage the kidneys, liver and central nervous system and can cause cancer. Children, the elderly or those with respiratory problems may be more susceptible.
Although some homeowners may notice an odor emanating from fingernail polish or new carpet, most volatile organic compounds are undetectable. To reduce your risk of exposure, take the following actions:
- Home inspection – Inspect your home for possible VOC sources. Consult an indoor air quality expert for professional help.
- Source control – Get rid of VOCs that may be around the house. Try to purchase items that are free of or low in VOCs. Follow label directions well for use and disposal. When purchasing carpet, ask if it has been allowed to “off gas”.
- Climate control – Keep both the humidity level and temperature as low as possible. Open doors and windows and use fans to increase ventilation during cooler hours. If possible, leave the premises during home renovations or schedule during cooler weather so doors and windows can be kept open. VOCs are often released from old and new material during home renovations.
For more information about volatile organic compounds or any other home comfort issue, contact the pros at Carefree Comfort, Inc. Apart from our IAQ services, we also supply indoor air quality products to improve the health and safety of your Highland Park home. Call us today at 847-388-0115 for more information or to schedule an appointment.