How to Identify Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) Pollutants in Your Home
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) defines VOC as organic chemicals and gases that are produced or emitted from certain solids and liquids that are used in many households. Depending on the type, these chemicals have both short term and long term adverse health effects. Examples of household products that produce VOCs listed by NCBI are varnishes, paints, and wax. All chemicals used in households for cleaning, as disinfectants, for cosmetic purposes, and sometimes for hobbies produce these harmful compounds. Organic fuels that many households use as a source of energy also produce VOCs. The EPA concludes that all these products produce VOCs while they are stored and when they are being used. The concentration of many VOCs is thus higher indoors than outdoors. The (EPA) states that the concentration of these compounds indoors is ten times higher than their concentration outdoors.
There are various ways that you can use to identify VOCs in your home:
- One way of detecting VOCs in your home is the use of indoor air quality monitors. Air Quality Monitors are devices that are used to track the quality of air in a home. These devices can report on a number of Air Quality Measurements like Particulate Matter (PM : PM1.0, PM2.5, PM10), Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC), Indoor Air Formaldehyde (HCHO), Real-time Air Quality Index (AQI), Humidity, Temperature and more
- The second way of identifying VOCs in your home is by reading labels of the chemicals you buy. According to the EPA the labels list the contents of the chemicals and their possible emissions. Although not all products will contain useful information on emissions, you can get an idea of possible emission of VOCs by reading the labels.
- The third way of identifying VOCs in your home is by using a photoionization detector (PID). This device can analyze a wide range of chemicals using ultraviolet (UV) light.
- The forth way of identifying VOCs in your home is by using metal oxide semiconductor sensors (MOS). This device can detect many gases using a sensitive film that reacts with the VOCs when they reach a toxic level.
All the methods described above measures the quality of air and provides results about the contents of various volatile organic compounds. It is upon you to identify those that have reached unsafe values and take the necessary step to reduce them and make your home pollution free.