Headaches? Tired for no reason? You are not alone. If you’ve been feeling sick without explanation or without a known cause, you may have an indoor air quality issue caused by everyday items that release volatile organic compounds, or VOCs, into the environment.
VOCs are toxic vapors that are off-gassed from man-made materials, and everyday items in your home or workplace. They cause poor indoor air quality, commonly referred to as “indoor air pollution.” VOCs can be toxic, and very dangerous to your health.
Common symptoms of VOC exposure include headaches, fatigue and listlessness, dizziness, nausea, nervousness, and difficulty concentrating. Long-term exposure to VOCs can result in cancer, and damage to the kidneys, liver, and central nervous system. The only way to know what is in your air is to have it tested. So where do VOCs come from?
Here’s a list of the top indoor air quality polluters:
- New carpeting
- Furniture and cabinets, especially those made of composite material
- New bedding, mattresses, and pillows
- Photocopiers and printers
- Adhesives and glues
- Cosmetics and toiletries
- Permanent markers and DIY craft supplies
- Vinyl, such as shower curtains or tile
- Scented candles
- Cleaning and disinfecting chemicals
- Air fresheners
- Moth balls
- Dry cleaning and laundry detergents
- Wood-burning stoves
- New cars (that “new car” smell)
If you suspect that your indoor air quality may be causing health issues, have your home tested. RTK can test to determine if there are dangerous levels of mold or chemicals and VOCs in your home including formaldehyde, carbon monoxide, and chemical particles. We can then determine what the source of your contamination is. We also test for common asthma triggers, such as dust mites and insects cells. Once you have the results, we can show you how to eliminate the source of the problem, and how to keep future household chemical contamination under control. For information on when to conduct an indoor air quality test, visit our IAQ and Radon page.