Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)

IAQM has been decontaminating VOCs since 2002. No other company has as much success as IAQM, with millions of cubic air space successfully decontaminated.

Who doesn’t love the clean, inviting smell of a freshly painted room? Unfortunately, that new paint smell may actually be a concoction of thousands of toxic compounds (known as VOCs or Volatile Organic Compounds) that will be hanging around long after the paint has dried. In fact, while off-gassing peaks within the first few hours and weeks, some products release only half of their VOCs within the first year and continue emitting VOCs throughout their life.

Paints are a leading cause for concern, but other contributors of potentially harmful, man-made VOCs (as opposed to natural VOCs produced by trees and vegetation) include:

  • Spray paint, varnishes, paint thinners and paint strippers
  • Preservatives in cleaners and disinfectants
  • Cosmetics, colognes and hair spray
  • Nail polish and nail polish remover
  • Pesticides
  • Moth repellents
  • Office supplies like correction fluid and carbonless copy paper
  • Office equipment like photocopiers and laser printers
  • Glues and adhesives
  • Fiberglass and foam insulation
  • Wood preservatives
  • Glues, finishes and waxes used in paneling, plywood and other pressed wood products
  • Fire retardants
  • Air freshener
  • Carpeting and vinyl flooring along with the adhesives used during their installation
  • Furniture upholstery

To make matters worse, some of these products release toxic organic compounds into our household air even when simply stored in their sealed containers.

Combined, common, household products consistently raise indoor air pollution levels 2 to 10 times what we’re exposed to in even highly industrialized outdoor locations. And because many of us are indoors for the majority of our day, poor indoor air quality has been linked with a wide range of both health problems.

Some ill effects of exposure to VOCs, such as irritation of the eyes, skin, nose or throat, headaches, nausea, fatigue or dizziness may subside quickly but others can be chronic and much more severe, including kidney and liver damage, impaired brain function and an increased risk of cancer.