Yesterday we covered the basics of “VOCs”– what they are, where they come from and what you can do about them. Here’s Part 2 of our primer on Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs):
What are they key signs or symptoms of health problems caused by volatile organic compounds?
- Eye irritation
- Nose and throat discomfort
- Allergic skin reactions
- Shortness of breath
- Blood test results showing a decline in serum cholinesterase levels
- Nosebleed (usually indicates formaldehyde)
The best idea is to take action now to protect your home and workplace against the buildup of dangerous VOCs. As we mentioned yesterday, a high-performance air purifier such as the IQAir GC Series can effectively remove VOCs from the air. But your first line of defense is to minimize the presence of these chemicals at home or work. Here’s solid advice from the EPA:
- Safely throw away partially full containers of oils or unneeded chemicals.
- Buy limited quantities; don’t keep extra chemicals around the house or workplace.
- Keep exposure to emissions from products containing methylene chloride to a minimum. Consumer products with methylene chloride include paint strippers, adhesive removers and aerosol sprays.
- Limit exposure to benzene, a known human carcinogen found in tobacco smoke, stored fuels, paint supplies and auto emissions.
- Limit exposure to perchloroethylene emissions from newly dry-cleaned materials.
For more information and an excellent review of the many issues of VOCs and indoor air quality, check out “Indoor Air Pollution,” a booklet from the EPA and a host of leading medical groups.