5 Nasty VOC Carriers Lurking in Your Home

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Lighting mood candles, hanging up freshly dry-cleaned clothes, or polishing the living room floor - these are the kind of everyday tasks we don't give a second thought to. Well, maybe it's time to pay attention.

Our homes are full of seemingly innocent household goods that are packed full of chemicals known as volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which may be adversely affecting our families. These nasty pollutants enter the air via a process called off-gassing and, according to the EPA, concentrations are up to ten times higher indoors than outdoors.

Short-term exposure to high levels of some VOCs can cause headaches, dizziness, light-headedness, drowsiness, nausea, and eye and respiratory irritation. Long-term exposure might even cause cancer and affect the liver, kidney, and nervous system.

It's possible to reduce your exposure to many of the potentially harmful products by swapping them for safer alternatives. Read on to discover what sneaky sources of pollution are lurking in your home and what you can do about it.

Tuneup Your HVAC
One surefire way to help combat VOCs is to boost the quality of your indoor air by upgrading and servicing your HVAC system, and improving ventilation by turning on exhaust fans, as well as opening windows and doors. Regularly changing your HVAC system's air filters every 1-3 months can also help reduce and filter out some harmful materials.

Inspect Your Seating
Couches, chairs, and other furniture are all common sources of VOCs. Opt for solid wood and hardboard in place of cheaper pressed wood products, which utilize non-toxic, water-based glues. 
When buying new items, check for GREENGUARD, Scientific Certification Systems, or SGS Group certification -  three organizations that approve sustainable and low-emitting products.

Second-hand furniture is also a clever alternative, cutting down on potential pesky fumes while saving you money.

Change Your Mattress
Image via Flickr by The Sleep Judge

A good mattress is always a worthwhile investment, but have you ever noticed the strong odor of a new mattress? This is due to VOCs. Avoid using anything made with polyurethane foam and look for a chemical-free wool, organic cotton, or natural latex alternatives that are PBDE-free.

Swap-Out Your Cleaning Supplies
You may love it when your home smells clean, but cleaning supplies are a big source of VOCs in your air. Where possible, switch to unscented products and basic, natural products like vinegar and baking soda.

It's also worth remembering that “natural” doesn't always mean safer. Look for Green Seal certified products for peace of mind.

Remove Your Carpet
Soft, spongy carpet may feel lovely underfoot, but it is one of the highest sources of VOCs in any home. If switching to rugs can't sway you, try to choose carpet made with a natural fiber, such as wool, and check the label for products tested by the Carpet and Rug Institute's (CRI) Indoor Air Quality testing program.

Proper ventilation and a few smart swaps can reduce you and your family's exposure to VOCs, and help ensure your home is a healthier place for years to come.

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1 comment:

  1. We have two air purifiers in are house.



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