Toxins, Poisons And Other Nightmares at Home
Thursday, January 28th, 2016 | Categories: Children and Mold, Indoor Air Quality, Senior Citizens and mold, Sick Building, Toxic Mold,Indoor Air Quality | No Comments
Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) is about more than mold and dust.
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All us are exposed to toxins that enter our bodies through our lungs, eyes and skin on a daily basis.
Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)
(VOCs) are organic and non-organic chemicals that have a high vapor pressure at ordinary room temperature. The high vapor pressure causes large numbers of molecules to evaporate from a liquid or solid form to enter the surrounding air as a gas.
Many of us have experienced this phemnomona when entering a craft store or lumber yard. Remember the variety of fumes you experienced? Some of my clients have such severe reactions to the VOCs that they get very ill from just entering the building. Headaches, skin rashes, hives and respiratory distress follow for many. Current research tells us that they are having an autoimmune reaction.
High VOCs Containing Materials:
- Paint (latex and oil based)
- Carpet, especially new
- Furniture finishes (lacquer, varnishes, etc.)
- Treated clothing and fabrics
- Oils and cosmetics
- Cigarettes, Tobacco and VAPES
The list goes on and on. You have likely experienced many of these VOCs in millions of varieties over the course of your life.
Remember that new car smell?
Yes that new car smell is all those VOCs off-gassing (being released from the materials in the car, plastic fibers, etc) that cause you to drive with the windows open or risk getting ill.
Health Risks of Exposure:
- Respiratory, allergic or immune illness in children are closely associated with man-made VOCs in our indoor environment.
- Eye, nose and throat irritation
- Headaches, loss of coordination and nausea
- Cancers in humans and animals
Length and frequency of exposures to humans is a critical factor in all VOC exposure. (The longer the exposure the greater the health risk)
VOCs play an important role.
VOCs can play an important role in communication between plants, and messages from plants to animals. Some VOCs are dangerous to human health or cause harm to the enviornment.
VOCs are regulated by law, especially indoors, where concentrations are the highest. Harmful VOCs typically are not acutely toxic, but have compounding long-term health effects. Because the concentrations are usually low and the symptoms slow to develop, research into VOCs and their effects is difficult.
We caution our clients to take reasonable steps in managing VOCs in their homes and offices for the safety and comfort of all.
- Use low VOC paints and finishes
- Open doors and windows frequently to allow VOC levels to dwindle. If you can’t open windows, make sure your heating and air contractor installs a fresh air admittance duct and valve to draw in fresh air to your air conditioning system.
- Read the labels on all clothing and linens. Wash and dry all fabrics before you wear or sleep on them.
- Avoid breathing gas fumes while fueling your car.
- Some contact with VOCs can cause rashes, coughs or minor irritations. For some the symptoms are far more profound, causing lung, eye and skin damage and triggering severe reactions by our autoimmune systems.