What Are Volatile Organic Compounds?

In addition to killing greater than 99% of airborne bacteria, the RxAir® has been proven to reduce concentrations of volatile organic compounds – commonly known as VOCs.

But what exactly are VOCs – and furthermore, how do they enter the home in the first place? Let’s take a look.

What are VOCs?

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), VOCs can be defined as follows:

“Volatile organic compounds, or VOCs are organic chemical compounds whose composition makes it possible for them to evaporate under normal indoor atmospheric conditions of temperature and pressure.”

The volatility of VOCs varies from one indoor air pollutant to the next, inspiring the World Health Organization (WHO) to categorize them as “very volatile,” “volatile,” and “semi-volatile” depending on how low the boiling point is and the likelihood that the compound will be emitted into the air.

What kinds of products emit VOCs?

Unfortunately, there are many common items that emit VOCs – some of which you probably own. Here are some examples:

  • Paints/paint strippers
  • Cleaning supplies
  • Pesticides
  • Building materials and furnishings
  • Copiers/printers
  • Glues/adhesives
  • Permanent markers
  • Air fresheners

Why do I need to worry about VOCs?

Concentrations of VOCs can be up to 10 times higher indoors than they are outdoors, states the EPA. And inhaling VOCs – particularly those that are categorized as “very volatile” – can lead to a number of mild to severe health effects, including headaches, nausea, nose or throat discomfort, irritated skin, fatigue, dizziness and even damage to the kidney, liver and central nervous system. Furthermore, studies have shown that certain VOCs cause cancer in animals.

How can I reduce exposure to VOCs?

The good news is that it’s relatively easy to control your exposure to VOCs. Here are some helpful tips provided by the EPA:

  • Remove the source of the VOCs from your home
  • Read product labels and look for items that are low-VOC
  • Always follow manufacturers instructions when using household cleaning products
  • Open the windows if you’re using products such as paint that contain high levels of VOCs
  • Buy only what you need so you don’t have to store products that contain VOCs in your home. If you do need to store them, make sure they’re in a well-ventilated area.

Another effective way to reduce your exposure to VOCs is to use the RxAir® Air Purification System, which uses high-intensity germicidal ultraviolet lamps to purify the air, inactivate pathogens and reduce concentrations of odors and VOCs.

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