When you walk down the laundry and cleaning aisle at the grocery store, the chemical scents wafting down the shelves is a form of off-gassing. The smell of a freshly painted room, clothing picked up from the dry cleaners, that new car smell or freshly laid carpet is also kind of off-gassing. Common household items such as carpeting, cabinets, modern furniture, paint, mothballs, and cleaners release volatile chemical compounds (VOC’s) into the air during the process of chemical breakdown. These VOC’s in household products release into the air noxious chemicals, and sometimes there is no scent. Keep reading for information on how to reduce exposure to VOC’s.

how to reduce exposure to voc'sChemical combination manufacturers use in products such as formaldehyde, polyurethane foam, and Bisphenol A (BPA) cause health issues in humans. Many of those products cause allergic reactions such as sneezing your head off in the laundry aisle, burning eyes, wheezing, skin irritation, chronic fatigue, brain fog, and cancer. The severity of health effects VOC’s cause depends on the level of off-gassing, and length of exposure.

Here are 5 ways you can reduce exposure:

  1. Do a walk-through. Inventory your home for every source of off-gassing. If you are safely able to do so, remove the items from your home. The (HHW) site managed by the (EPA) lists free disposal sites by location. Check with your local waste management company to see if there are options in your area for proper disposal.
  2. Read labels. Just like you read the labels on food products, it is equally important on household products. Choose products with no, or low VOC’s will significantly lower your exposureHow to reduce your exposure to VOC's
  3. Open your windows. Allowing fresh air to flow through your house even for just a couple of hours a day will help circulate fresh air, dissipating volatile chemical compounds. Ensure each bathroom has a proper exhaust fan, and the stove has adequate ventilation that leads to the outside. Keep the temperature and humidity as low as you can to keep comfortable. Chemicals will off-gas at higher humidity and temperatures.
    Try to plan any home makeovers when you can have the doors and windows open for ventilation.
  4. Get rid of carpeting. Wall to wall carpeting harbors chemicals, mold, and dust mites. That new carpet smell is one of the most awful off-gassing emitters. If you prefer carpeting, consider getting a few area rugs, use natural carpet fibers, or choose carpeting that does not use adhesives.
  5. Clean green. Many household cleaning agents are full of VOC’s. Choose natural cleaners that have non-chlorine bleach, ammonia free, and aerosol free. You can make your own products with baking soda, vinegar, salt, and lemon. Look for the label to help you choose EPA safer products.

We are surrounded every day by noxious fumes caused by the breakdown of chemicals in our products. With savvy choices and a little bit of time, you can reduce your exposure to VOC’s.

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More info? For more information about how you can improve your indoor air quality, check out our other post: MOST COMMON INDOOR AIR POLLUTANTS.

Call 877-957-5670 to schedule an appointment with an AdvantaClean Indoor Air Quality Professional today!