What Can One Do About VOCs?
The best thing a home owner can do is educate themselves about the wide variety of compounds that are out there. Let's face it, we are all part of one giant living experiment and we are the "lab rats."
Next, familiarize yourself with the common health effects of VOCs. But be careful, exposure to many of these items takes years to manifest into health issues (like cancer). Sourcing materials with low / no VOC content is the best way to protect yourself. Paints, stains, flooring, furniture and carpeting can all be sourced with low (to no) VOCs.
Where Do VOCs Come From?
The obvious sources would be your home's building materials, furnishings and household cleaners. It can even come from outside or from under your home in the form of "vapor intrusion" from off-gassing groundwater. Identifying all the potential sources of VOCs can be a daunting task that requires the help of a professional.
Isn't All This Regulated?
Unfortunately, no. While some standards and benchmarks are in place for certain compounds, most have none. The rate at which new chemicals are produced and work their way into our environment is staggering. Most of which have received no health studies at all. Its up to you to be informed and protect yourself.
Can You Spot the Dangers in this Home?
Of course not! The real dangers in your home can be hard to see.
(Gas fireplace, furnace, water heater, gas stove, clothes dryers, charcoal grills, wood stoves, power generators, smoking)
Airborne Lead & Mercury Vapor
(Paint on walls, window/door components, siding, furnishings, lacquers)
(Joint Compound, popcorn ceiling, pipe wrap, floor tiles, linoleum, plaster, ducts)
(House mites, insect parts/homes/feces, bacteria, pollens, molds, viruses, animal dander/secretions, protozoans, skin cells)
(Off-gassing, furniture, carpeting, upholstery, wood floors, adhesives, cleaning agents, insulation, Vapor Intrusion)
(Pesticide residue, chemicals, PCB’s, flame retardants, caustic farm products)
(Paint in general, asbestos, glues, formaldehyde, particle board, Chinese Drywall)
(Radon, ceramics & glass, older TV’s, water, natural gas, soil,)
(Cell phones, power lines, consumer electronics, CFL light bulbs, WiFi, Bluetooth)
(VOC’s like solvents & degreasers, PCE, TCE, PERC & petroleum products like benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, xylene)