Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are chemicals found in household products and building materials that release harmful toxins as gas. A lack of ventilation and air purification can lead to the accumulation of more than just chemicals. Pet dander, dust, pollen, bacteria, and cleaning supply residue and odors might contribute to sick building syndrome (SBS). Someone may get SBS as a result of spending too much time in a building with tight construction and poor air quality. SBS, in addition to VOCs, may present a wide range of health risks to homeowners.
Here are some ways to reduce exposure to VOCs and improve air quality.
- Increase ventilation inside with air purifiers and fans.
- Store unused chemicals away from kitchens and bedrooms.
- Keep temperatures cool and humid-free. VOCs are more likely to off-gas in hotter, more humid climates.
- Conduct renovations when no one is home and during seasons when windows and doors can be open.
- Wear protective gear such as gloves and goggles if coming into contact with chemicals.
- Let new furniture and mattresses sit for a few days before using to limit contact with the off-gas process.
- Use non-plastic containers for food preparation and storing.
- Be mindful of products with high VOC concentrations and look for safer options.
- Replace odorous air fresheners with soy-based candles and natural, citrus scents.
- Maintain a functioning HVAC system to promote clean air.
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