THE BASICS OF VOCS: WHAT THEY ARE AND HOW TO AVOID THEM

Whether we’re aware of it or not, we’re exposed to VOCs throughout our daily lives. From within our very own walls to the playground equipment our children play on, VOCs play a key role in the way we use and buy products. However, these vapor chemicals can put us in danger if we’re not careful. Learn the basics of VOCs to protect yourself and your family.

Defining VOCs

Volatile organic compounds, or VOCs, are common chemical solutions that evaporate in standard atmospheric conditions. Whether it’s from burning fuel, drying paint, or melting plastics, these vapors can invade the air in and around our home. VOCs contain a variety of chemicals, and though they’re needed for several manufacturing processes, human interaction with them can result in various health problems.

Sources of VOCs

Although many know VOCs are present in paint products, it’s important to note that they’re used in the manufacturing process of other products as well. Along with paints and paint solvents, VOCs are also present in wood preservatives, aerosol sprays, and even office equipment such as printers and copiers. Regularly using these products means constant exposure to VOCs, and as a result, one may develop a variety of physical symptoms.

Additional sources of VOCs include:

  • Cleansers and disinfectants
  • Pesticides and weed killers
  • Hobby supplies and children’s toys
  • Moth repellants and air fresheners
  • Stored fuels and auto supplies

VOC Effects on Health

While many believe that the VOC toxins leave a surface as the paint dries, there are types of paint that hold them for much longer. In actuality, according to How Stuff Works, “paint can release VOCs into the air for years following the initial painting.” This can put your family at risk of developing physical ailments such as eye, nose, and throat irritation; headaches and dizziness; and even skin rashes. With prolonged exposure, some individuals even run the risk of developing liver, kidney, and central nervous system damage.

Fortunately, as researchers learn more about what effects these chemicals have on us and the environment, there is an increased effort to invent alternatives to VOC products.

Possible Alternatives

Though VOCs are present in many of our regularly used items, it’s becoming easier to limit our exposure to them. Recent product developments have produced low-VOC or VOC-free paint options for you to explore as well as education alternatives that let you know what products you should be avoiding. You can also take extra precaution by:

  • Occasionally allowing your home to air out
  • Testing your water for the presence of VOCs
  • Storing unused chemical products in the garage or shed instead of in the home

At Bear Mountain Custom Painting, we want to create the best possible results for you and your family by ensuring that we use high-quality tools and materials. We train our house painters in Atlanta, Georgia, to use these materials and supply you with the knowledge needed to decide which paint is best for your home.

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