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Limiting Your Exposure to Volatile Organic Compounds

Perhaps the most serious air quality concern you face in the Atlanta area has nothing to do with ambient pollution. For all the region’s vehicles, industrial parks, and pollen-producing vegetation, the most contaminated air is often found indoors. That’s largely due to a class of contaminants called volatile organic compounds or VOC’s. It’s no exaggeration to say that your health may depend on limiting your exposure to these little-known pollutants.

VOCs and Indoor Air Quality

Volatile organic compounds are carbon-based chemicals that evaporate easily under normal conditions. They’re found in a staggering number of items and materials inside the typical home. They enter the air as gases or vapors by a process called off-gassing, at which point they’re easily inhaled. Breathing VOC-laden air is associated with health risks ranging from mild respiratory irritation to chronic disease and organ damage. Limiting your exposure to these chemicals requires both prevention and active removal.

Prevention by Source Control

You don’t need to worry about being exposed to VOCs that don’t exist. To that end, preventing these chemicals from entering your home is a key first step. The most common sources include cleaning and personal care products, office equipment, building supplies, and furnishings. Carpeting is also a major source of many volatile compounds. It’s best to avoid known VOC-producing items altogether, but that isn’t always practical. Whenever possible, seek out products that carry low-VOC or zero-VOC certifications.

Removal by Ventilation and Filtering

Even with constant vigilance, there’s simply no way to completely prevent VOCs in your home. For total protection, you’ll also need effective air quality treatment solutions. A ventilation system helps by continually flushing contaminated indoor air and bringing in fresher air in its place. An air cleaner is even more effective. The most sophisticated air cleaners can eliminate well over 90% of airborne particulates.

Controlling volatile organic compounds or VOC’s is a major challenge, but it’s one that’s imperative to good health. If you need a hand with your Atlanta home, check out Ful-Bro Heating and Air Conditioning’s indoor air quality services or call 678-369-0500 to speak with an air quality professional.

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