Stay Away From These Common Household VOCs

Stay Away From These Common Household VOCs

By Nikeanne Aquino

Anyone who has ever heard of volatile organic compounds is likely to have encountered many of them in their daily lives. Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are everywhere and they are a major contributor to air pollution. They are in the air around your home, in the car, on your clothes or in a variety of things you use every day. VOCs are essentially gases that are emitted into the air from everyday products like plastics and cleaning supplies. Over time, exposure to VOCs is harmful. Some of the most harmful volatile organic compounds pose a serious threat to the lungs, kidneys, liver and nervous system, as well as your body's immune system.

Volatile organic compounds are an inevitable part of daily life and you may be exposed to them every day, but there are still things you can do to protect yourself from their harmful effects like limit the use of certain products or find toxin free alternatives.

Here are some common VOCs to be aware of.

  • Acetone - Commonly found in nail polish remover, wood polish, and wallpaper.
  • Benzene - Commonly found in paint, glue, and certain carpeting/rugs.
  • Butanal - Commonly found in the emissions from gas stoves and barbecues.
  • Carbon disulfide - Commonly found in rubbers and pesticides and can sometimes in tap water.
  • Dichlorobenzene - Commonly found in deodorizers or air fresheners (including toilet and garbage deodorizers) and plastic foam used for sealants or insulation.
  • Formaldehyde - Commonly found in plastics and wood products like particle boards. Exposure can also come from paints, varnishes, and floor finishes.
  • Toluene - Commonly found in paint thinners, permanent markers, glues, and cements.
  • Xylene - Commonly found in ink and adhesives.


Learn how VOCs may be affecting your indoor air quality.

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