VOC Testing In Homes & Businesses
Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) cause a host of health and odor issues for many people. VOCs are of issue as both indoor air pollutants and outdoor air pollutants. Nevertheless, the emphasis on this topic outside is different from indoors. The main concern indoors is the ability for VOCs to adversely affect the health of exposed people.
One of our favorite sayings is that “Your home should not smell like an apple pie unless you just baked one.” It is short and simple but to the point. One of the most harmful VOC’s in your home is your favorite air freshener or candle. VOC stands for Volatile Organic Compound, and while people are increasingly aware of them in paint and furniture finishes, they are often unaware of just how many come from products we use daily around our home.
Other common sources of VOCs other than those listed above are cleaners, building materials, personal care products, items we cook with, and even hobbies. They are simple things we use in our home day in and day out, without giving a second thought of. Ironically the “new car” smell is so coveted that they make air fresheners to mimic it. From and IAQ side, that new car smell is simply bad, it is a collection of new materials that are off-gassing and possibly affecting your health.
While some VOC’s can be carcinogenic, most cause less serious symptoms such as headaches, fatigue, dizziness, throat and nose irritation, and possibly even eye irrigation. VOC’s are something that no one thinks about yet are in every home and can easily be reduced by the use of simple cleaner practices that are not limited to but include:
- Use natural products
- Add ventilation to your home (the solution to pollution is dilution)
- If it smells – store it outside
- Through away any unwanted or unused chemicals (per instruction)
- Say hello to house plants
- Allow new house products to “off-gas” before bringing them into the house
- Use low VOC paints, sealants, caulks, and carpeting
If you think that you may have a VOC problem, testing for VOC’s is rather simple. As with any inspection we start with an in-depth interview both before scheduling, and when we first arrive at the home. The sample is taken over a two hour period using a sorbent tube. Please note that certain precautions must be used prior to testing such as not cooking with oils, and leaving all windows closed. Once collected the sample is sent to a third party accredited lab, and the results come back within 3-5 business days.
Results will show the levels in your home compared to other homes. Your levels will then be broken down into different categories such as personal care products, building materials, and so on so that we may begin to see where the problem lies.
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