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Sat, 3 Mar 2012 14:04:18 EST Volatile organic compounds in the indoor environment have come under increasing scrutiny as people learn of the short, and long term, health risks associated with exposure. VOCs include a very wide range of organic compounds that can be emitted from building materials and products. It is estimated that 50 to 300 different VOCs may be detected in the air of homes, schools, offices, and commercial buildings at any given time.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has determined that concentrations of VOCs are much higher indoors compared to outdoors (up to 10 times higher). VOCs are emitted from thousands of products such as building maintenance and cleaning products, cosmetics, paints, adhesives, sealants, caulks, carpets, furniture, panels, vinyl floor and wall coverings, composite wood products, drywall and drywall products, concrete deck leveling compounds, furniture finishing products, and insulation materials. Other sources include office equipment such as copiers and printers, correction fluid, carbonless paper, permanent markers, photographic solutions, and graphics and craft materials such as glues and adhesives.
'Historically, most of our understanding of the health effects associated with VOCs comes from the study of individual VOC exposures at relatively high concentrations,' reported Bruce Jacobs, CIH, President of IAQ Index, an indoor air quality (IAQ) test kit manufacturer. 'For example, most of the standards established by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) are in the range of 100 to 1,000 parts per million (ppm) for individual VOCs (with some in the 1 to 10 ppm range), while most non-industrial (home, school, office, etc.) VOC levels are measured in the parts per billion (ppb) range (up to 1,000 times lower). However, the best information available today suggests that low-level VOC exposures can result in adverse health effects such as irritation or inflammation of exposed skin, eyes, and mucous membranes; throat irritation; tearing of the eyes; runny nose; stinging, itching, or tingling feelings in exposed tissues; headache; drowsiness; and various other stress reactions to the exposures.'
To learn more about testing for volatile organic compounds, please visit IAQ Index at http://www.IAQIndex.com, email info@IAQIndex.com or call (888) 259-3883.
About IAQ Index
IAQ Index was developed by a Certified Industrial Hygienist with decades of experience dealing with indoor air quality issues. IAQ Index was developed as a health-based, easy-to-understand, air quality index that is calculated from data generated for various parameters commonly measured during IAQ surveys. The approach is similar to the EPA's Air Quality Index that has been used historically to communicate the risks posed by common pollutants in the ambient air.
Volatile organic compounds in the indoor environment have come under increasing scrutiny as people learn of the short, and long term, health risks associated with exposure. VOCs include a very wide range of organic compounds that can be emitted from building materials and products. It is estimated that 50 to 300 different VOCs may be detected in the air of homes, schools, offices, and commercial buildings at any given time.