Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) are emitted as gases from certain solids or liquids. VOCs include a variety of chemicals, some of which may have short- and long-term adverse health effects.
Concentrations of many VOCs are consistently higher indoors (up to ten times higher) than outdoors. VOCs are emitted by a wide array of products numbering in the thousands.
Organic chemicals are widely used as ingredients in household products. Paints, varnishes and wax all contain organic solvents, as do many cleaning, disinfecting, cosmetic, degreasing, and hobby products. Fuels are made up of organic chemicals. All of these products can release organic compounds while you are using them, and, to some degree, when they are stored.
EPA's Office of Research and Development found levels of about a dozen common organic pollutants to be 2 to 5 times higher inside homes than outside, regardless of whether the homes were located in rural or highly industrial areas. Studies indicated that while people are using products containing organic chemicals, they can expose themselves and others to very high pollutant levels, and elevated concentrations can persist in the air long after the activity is completed.
What to do if VOCs or CO2 Levels Are High
Often VOC and/or CO2 readings are high due to poor air circulation, use of cleaning supplies, cosmetics, perfumes, colognes, paints, having new furniture or flooring materials, or any of over 100 other reasons. If warnings are so high as to cause immediate harm, stop using what ever has made a change in your Indoor Air Quality (IAQ), get the air circulating by turning on a fan or opening windows. When you have sufficient information on your cause of poor IAQ that is HVAC related you may want to call a trusted HVAC professional or company certified in indoor air pollution remediation. If risk is lower you may start with improving air circulation. Check your air filter on your furnace, if dirty, replace ASAP. Open windows and doors to bring in fresh air. We at iSeeAir, LLC are not experts in indoor air pollution remediation. We are however very good at Indoor Air Quality detection and evaluation.
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