Volatile Organic Compounds: How to Eliminate Them From the Home
Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) can be incredibly harmful to your family’s health, and you can’t escape them simply by going inside. Instead, it’s necessary to take measures to completely remove them from your environment. Here’s how to eliminate VOCs from your Las Vegas home.
Though benzene and other VOCs are gases, they’re emitted by a range of solid and liquid substances. They react with other airborne elements to create ozone, which leads to air pollution and causes breathing problems for many people. These harmful chemicals frequently appear indoors at concentrations up to ten times higher than concentrations of VOCs found outdoors.
As a chemical-based liquid that covers the majority of interior wall space in homes, paint is a big contributor of VOCs like benzene. The most comprehensive way to combat VOCs from paint is to use only low-VOC versions. Many low-VOC paint options have entered the market in the last few years, making this a solid solution no matter what shade you’re in the market for.
If you must paint an interior space with a conventional type of paint, be sure to wear a respirator mask and ventilate the area thoroughly for several days. If ventilation proves to be a larger problem in your home, consider installing a ventilator that works with your HVAC system to continually draw in fresh air and flush stale air out of your home.
Synthetic carpet tends to emit VOCs like formaldehyde over an extended period of time in a process known as off-gassing. Chemicals from carpet adhesives, flame retardants, and stain protectors can be harmful to anyone’s health, especially during and right after installation. As an alternative, consider installing hardwood flooring, rubber flooring, stone tiling, or even natural wool carpeting.
If you install synthetic carpet, be sure to allow the carpet to breathe in an empty, well-ventilated room for several days in advance. Remember to reduce indoor pollutants by regularly vacuuming carpet or cleaning hard floors with a damp cloth. Be sure to use a vacuum outfitted with an HEPA filter, which can capture even microscopic airborne pollutants.
Adhesives used to bind furniture parts and give finishes a shine also emit VOCs like formaldehyde. If possible, decorate your home with furniture made from natural materials. If you opt to purchase furniture made with adhesives, consider applying a sealant in order to prevent the formaldehyde and other VOCs from continuing to off-gas.
Cleaning products claim to tidy and disinfect a variety of surfaces in your home, but many leave behind a trail of VOCs like tetrachloroethene. To eliminate harmful cleaners from your home, dispose of them safely. Going forward, be sure to purchase only safe cleaning products, or consider making your own from natural ingredients like white vinegar and baking soda. If you must purchase conventional cleaners for certain purposes, be sure to buy only as much as you need. Instead of storing the remainder in your home and allowing the VOCs to escape, simply dispose of any leftover amount.
Acetone and Ethyl Alcohol
Many personal care products also emit VOCs like acetone and ethyl alcohol. When purchasing cosmetics, nail polish, and perfumes, be sure to read the ingredients carefully. If you opt for a personal care product that contains VOCs, not only will it cause harmful chemicals to circulate through your home’s air conditioning system, but the product’s VOCs will continue to off-gas in proximity to your breathing passages, quickly leading to a dangerous level of exposure.
Instead of using a naphthalene-emitting product such as air freshener in your home, try removing the odors instead of just covering them up. An air purifier works with your HVAC system to remove airborne allergens, chemicals, and odors. Adding certain household plants to your décor can also help keep your indoor air relatively clean. Consider growing a peace lily, a chrysanthemum, or even a snake plant indoors to help clear the air of dangerous chemicals like benzyne and formaldehyde.
Need to improve the quality of your home’s air? Call the indoor air quality experts at Ambient Edge today: 702-479-7464.
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