Everyone must have walked into a freshly-painted room. How does it smell?
Similarly, you must have noticed the smell of new furniture or carpets. Some people like the smell of fresh paints or varnish, but they are essential constituents of air pollution.
What is VOC?
VOC denotes Volatile Organic Compounds. In fact, they are gases emitted by specific solids and liquids such as varnish, paints, detergents, pesticides, building materials, adhesives, and so on.
VOCs comprise of various chemicals, many of which are harmful to health. These VOCs can cause long-term and short-term health issues.
VOCs are more dangerous indoors as compared to outdoors
The indoor environment lacks a natural ventilation system. Therefore, you have higher levels of VOCs in buildings and homes in particular. In fact, it is 10 times higher than the outdoor environments.
The VOCs can dissipate quickly outdoors whereas its dispersion is slower in indoor environments. Hence, you have a higher chance of inhaling VOCs indoors rather than outdoors.
In the olden days, you had houses with a lot of natural ventilation. Nowadays, the modern homes are built to improve the efficiency of the heating and cooling systems. The result is that the VOCs find it harder to escape.
Therefore, they remain indoors for a long time causing respiratory problems for all. Some of the symptoms are headaches, watery eyes, nausea, and sore throats. Remember that not all VOCs have detectable odours.
VOC – The Sources
There are innumerable sources of VOCs in the home and office environment. We shall list out some of them.
- Carpets and adhesives
- Upholstery fabrics
- Varnishes and other solvents like paint thinners
- Vinyl flooring
- Air fresheners
- Cosmetic products
- Moth balls
- Fuel and gasoline
- Vehicular exhaust
- Dry cleaning
- Tobacco smoke
- The list can be an exhaustive one.
What is the solution to prevent VOCs?
Painting a house and installing new furniture is very common. You can take precautionary measures by leaving the rooms unoccupied and ventilating them to eliminate the VOCs. You can also install high quality air purifiers and ACs having anti-VOC filters.
How do anti-VOC filters work?
VOCs are aromatic hydrocarbons. Therefore, the anti-VOC filters work in the same way that the Activated carbon filters work.
The principal objective of the anti-VOC filters is to prevent the recirculation of the VOCs into the indoor environment. They trap these VOCs and ensure the purification of indoor air.
Anti-VOC filters – Pros & Cons
- These filters trap the VOCs and prevent recirculation into the indoor environment
- They reduce the chances of inhalation of the VOCs thereby protecting you from serious health issues like respiratory complaints and damage to internal organs like liver, kidneys, and nervous system.
- Not very efficient in treating PM 2.5 pollutants
Anti-VOC filters – Usage
Nowadays, all the AC units come with Anti-VOC filters. You can also find utility for these filters in the air purifiers. It is because the HEPA filters cannot eliminate the VOCs. You need these anti-VOC filters to provide the maximum purification. These filters act as perfect companions of the HEPA filters and help to purify the indoor air, thereby making it healthy to inhale.
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