An EPA study shows that close to dozen common air pollutants are 2 to 5 times more concentrated indoors versus outdoors, regardless of whether the home is is located in Rural America, or in an industrial zone.
The cause is volatile organic compounds, more commonly known as VOCs.
VOCs are gases emitted from certain liquids and solids including paints, cleaning supplies, pesticides, air fresheners and permanent markers, among others. In the short-term, can cause respiratory irritation. In the long-term, VOCs can lead to “Sick Building Syndrome“, cancer and other illnesses.
There are a number of ways to keep VOC levels in your San Francisco home to minimum and the EPA published some tips to help with home health safety. The advice includes:
- Meet or exceed all product label precautions
- When buying paints and chemicals, don’t buy bulk. Buy only what you need. Dispose of the rest.
- If a product label says “use in well-ventilated area”, move to the outdoors or use a fan
VOC levels can remain elevated for long periods of time even after the VOC-generating activity is completed. Therefore, take care to protect your home and your health.
Read the EPA’s complete guide to volatile organic compounds on its website.