What to Do About Noxious VOCs

A modern house requires some maintenance and upkeep so that it may remain a safe and pleasant place to be. This involves not only refurnishing it and getting the HVAC system fixed or the roof patched up, but also caring for paint and carpeting. In fact, some Americans may be surprised to hear that many brands of paint and carpets give off a lot of fumes or VOCs (volatile organic compounds). These noxious VOCs are tiny airborne particles that may cause or worsen asthma or allergies in anyone who breathes them, with children, babies, and those with asthma or allergies suffering the worst effects from VOC exposure. Such VOCs and related particles may even cause cognitive impairment, something that no one would want, especially not at an office setting. The good news is that homeowners and office managers may make use of eco friendly glue and eco friendly paints, safe clear varnish, non toxic paint for walls, and hypoallergenic baby crib paint. Such non toxic paint for walls and related materials will greatly lower VOC levels, and keeping the carpets fresh and new will also help.

The Hazard of VOCs and Fumes

What exactly is the danger here? Typically, VOCs are not lethal and might not even hospitalize someone unless that person has a severe case of asthma or allergies (which can certainly happen). But in any case, VOCs and paint fumes are harmful to some extent or other, and many Americans are being exposed to them more than they realize. Many studies have been done to measure the ill effects of VOCS from paint and varnish and carpets, and the results are striking. For example, a study conducted in Sweden showed that children whose bedroom has PGE concentrations in the top 25% among study participants had a 100% higher chance to have asthma. Similarly, those children exposed to high PGE levels were 150% more likely to have eczema, and a staggering 320% higher chance to have rhinitis. Such high VOC and PGE levels may be present in many bedrooms of today’s children or baby nurseries, causing many otherwise avoidable health issues.

That’s not all. VOCs may harm adults as well, and many office spaces today have a lot of VOCs in them. A recent study sought to investigate this, and turned up some clear results. Study participants worked for six days in a low-VOC office space, with only 50 micrograms of VOCs per cubic meter of air and 40 cubic feet per minute of outdoor air. As a result, cognitive scores (on average) were 101% higher compared to people who had office spaces with typical VOC levels. A manager always wants productive and sharp employees, and clearing out VOCS may be a healthy and natural way to boost cognitive performance.

Cornell University also conducted some studies where allergens are concerned. The study found that 83% of travelers said that they would choose an allergy-friendly room if they could, and 59% of travelers would choose one hotel room over another on merit of hypoallergenic surfaces and features. Overall, levels of airborne VOCs may be two to five times higher in indoor air than outdoor, and this may be quite harmful. Thus, non toxic paint for walls, clean carpets, and more may be the route to better indoor air.

Better Products for Better Air

Homeowners and office managers can take some steps to curb VOC levels in indoor air. Office managers may hire maid services to perform routine vacuuming and deep cleaning of all carpets and rugs, and this removes a lot of dirt in those carpets that release VOCs. A carpet can soak up a lot of filth, and until cleaned, this means years of constant VOC emissions. A homeowner may vacuum and deep-clean their own carpets, or even hire a maid service if they don’t have time for that work alone.

Homeowners may also use VOC friendly materials such as non toxic paint for walls, hypoallergenic paint for baby cribs, and VOC friendly wood stain and varnish. A concerned homeowner may ask a hardware store associate for VOC friendly materials in particular and purchase them for use at home.

Leave a Reply