What are volatile organic compounds? Wikipedia states, “Organic compounds are any member of a large class of gaseous, liquid, or solid chemical compounds whose molecules contain carbon” Volatile organic compounds are those that can affect where you live and your health. Most of our time is spent indoors and therefore this definition will apply to indoor volatile organic compounds. Most often the indoor environment has higher concentrations of bacteria, viruses, and volatile organic compounds (VOC’s) than outdoors. Volatile organic compounds are not often toxic but can cause many serious ill affects to human and animal health.
Man made volatile organic compounds (anthropogenic) sources, like solvents, in particular paints and protective coatings are among the most common volatile organic compounds due to the fact over 12 billion liters are produced each year.
Some other examples of volatile organic compounds are wax, cleaning products, cosmetics, varnishes, fuels, acetones, disinfectants, pesticides, glues, and adhesives. Office machinery like printers and copiers use chemicals that release volatile organic compounds and can cause a myriad of ill symptoms for those trapped indoors in close proximity to the office machinery. After new offices are built or buildings are remodeled volatile organic compounds come from carpets, new furniture, and other building materials. Sick building syndrome can result from these highly concentrated volatile organic compounds.
Volatile organic compounds can cause respiratory problems like runny nose, sneezing, asthma, itchy watery eyes, headache, fatigue and nausea. More serious side effects can include liver and kidney damage, problems with the nervous system, or even cancer. These are just some of the possible problems with poor quality indoor ambient air.
It is essential that proper ventilation as well as air purification and filtration are part of the air conditioning system in these buildings to prevent ill side effects and other human or animal health hazards. The indoor ambient air should be safe for employees, employers, patients, animals, and visitors.
Using photocatalytic oxidation in air purification is one way to significantly reduce volatile organic compounds as well as malignant microbes in the indoor ambient air.
We at ZandairTM use this technology in our air purification and filtration systems. Look through our website and learn more about photocatalytic oxidation and how it can help you have cleaner indoor ambient air. Contact us with any questions or comments you have. 7/11