Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) are organic chemical compounds that have high enough vapor pressures under normal conditions to significantly vaporize and enter the earth’s atmosphere.
VOCs are emitted as gases from certain solids or liquids. A wide range of carbon-based molecules can be considered as VOC such as, Aldehydes, ketones, hydrocarbons etc but there is no universally accepted definition or comprehensive list of VOCs. Although ubiquitous in modern industrial society, VOCs could also be harmful or toxic. VOCs that escape into the air contribute to air pollution.
Organic chemicals are widely used as ingredients in household products. Paints, varnishes, and wax all contain organic solvents, as do many cleaning, disinfecting, cosmetic, degreasing, and hobby products. Fuels are made up of organic chemicals. All of these products can release organic compounds while you are using them or when they are stored. The level of VOC emission is 2 to 5 times higher indoors than outdoors.
The ability of organic chemicals to cause health effects varies greatly from those that are highly toxic, to those with no known health effect. As with other pollutants, the extent and nature of the health effect will depend on many factors including level of exposure and length of time exposed. Eye and respiratory tract irritation, headaches, dizziness, visual disorders, and memory impairment are among the immediate symptoms that some people have experienced soon after exposure to some organics.
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