How to create healthy indoor environments

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February 27, 2019

In the past, monitoring of indoor air quality has primarily been focused on the detection of carbon dioxide (CO2). Now, technology makes it possible to detect volatile organic compounds (VOCs) to improve the indoor environment and avoid negative health effects caused by these organic chemicals.

Due to technological advancements, it is now possible to detect VOCs. The term VOCs covers all organic chemical compounds that can volatilize under normal conditions of temperature and pressure. The compounds are everywhere in both indoor and outdoor environments. The concentration is, however, consistently higher indoors than outdoors.

Sources of VOC emission

Whereas elevated levels of CO2 in buildings are usually caused by the occupants, because people exhale CO2, VOCs are emitted from a wide array of products and materials. For instance, paints can release organic compounds as well as cleaning, cosmetic, degreasing, and hobby products while they are used and, to some extent, when they are stored.

Negative health effects

VOCs include a range of organic chemicals, some of which can have adverse health effects. Among the symptoms experienced by people soon after exposure to some of the chemicals include eye, nose, and throat irritation, headaches, dizziness as well as memory impairment. Among other health effects are damage to the liver, kidneys, and central nervous system. Due to the negative health effects, monitoring of VOCs and essentially decreasing the concentration of VOCs is a vital part of creating a healthy indoor environment.

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