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Are You & Child Being Exposed To Volatile Organic Compounds?

Safe baby nursery

Article Written by Jai Kai.

Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) are toxic gases that are released into the air by using certain products. The harmful compounds in the VOC category range from formaldehyde to cleaning products to pesticides.

VOCs are common in many building materials such as plywood, particleboard, glues, foam insulation and paints.

Other sources of VOCs include the burning of fuels such as gas, kerosene, wood and tobacco products. They can also come from personal care products (perfume and hair spray), drapes, textiles, dry cleaning fluids, varnishes, hobby supplies, and copying and printing machines.

Concentrations of volatile organic compounds are often higher in indoor air than outdoor air, thus it is important to consider what products you use indoors and seek measures to prevent exposure to them.

What are the health concerns caused by volatile organic compounds?

First of all they include a variety of chemicals that can cause eye, nose and throat irritation, headache, nausea, dizziness, and skin conditions. Higher concentrations can severely irritate the lungs and damage your liver, kidney, or central nervous system.

How can exposure to volatile organic compounds be avoided?

The best way to avoid them is to use materials and products that do not give off VOCs. Here are some examples.

Use natural cleaning products.

Do not allow smoking in or near the house.

Use soy or beeswax candles. Other candles are often toxic.

Hang your fresh dry cleaned clothing in a well-ventilated area until it is properly dried out.

Use non-toxic art supplies, glues and paints.

Check and inquire about using building products that give of less VOCs than others. It may be difficult to find but try to select products that are suitable for indoor use.

Allow gases from new furnishings and building materials to be given off in storage for a few weeks before you bring them into your home. You can increase the ventilation by opening windows and doors for a few days after bringing new materials into your home.

Roll out new carpets and allow them to air out in storage before installation.

Use wall paints that are free  of or low in VOCs.

After any home renovation, ensure proper ventilation. Use fans and open windows and doors as much as possible for at least several days.

Use air cleaners to help improve ventilation and reduce levels of pollutants in indoor air. Note: No air cleaners will remove all pollutants from indoor air.

According to the EPA, volatile organic compounds are considered one of the top 5 hazards to human health. Paints and finishes are among the leading causes.

Remember this. Paints and finishes release low level toxic emissions into the air for years after application. The source of these toxins comes from a variety of volatile organic compounds which, until recently, were essential to the performance of the paint.

With new environmental regulations and consumer demand there are now more and more toxic free products and low-VOC or zero-VOC paints and finishes. Painting contractors receive increased requests for eco-friendly paints and major paint manufacturing companies are stocking up on these environment friendly paints.

Green paints that contribute to a sustainable environment are developed while conserving precious natural resources – using less energy consumption, and less pollution producing processes. Allergies or sensitivities to these paints are a lot less and are the safest for you and the planet.

Be conscious of what products you buy and use because after all it’s you who decides your health and the health of our precious earth.

This article was written by Jai Kai and first published on PlanetWell.

 

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Mar 29, 2011 | Category: Birth, Health and Beauty, Pregnancy, Raising a Green Baby | Comments: none | Tags: , , ,

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