VOCs and their Adverse Health Effects
Have you ever walked into a building and have it reek of bleach, Pinsol, or fresh paint and instantaneously you have a headache, eye irritation, nausea or become dizzy? These symptoms are caused by exposure to VOCs (or volatile organic compounds) that are emitted by different materials and chemicals frequently used in buildings, most commonly cleaning supplies. Concentrations indoors are often 10x higher than outside, leaving many with short-term and can even have long term side effects. (source: EPA)
It is suspected by the EPA that VOCs can cause cancer yet another little-known, long term side effect can also be TILT or toxicant-induced loss of tolerance. TILT results from an illness from a manmade toxic exposure, but instead of recovering, the neurological and immune systems remain damaged and an individual has increased sensitivity to all manmade toxins as time passes. (source: Discovery Magazine) Imagine a not being able to wear a perfume you once loved because you, your children or spouse suddenly have bad allergic reactions to it?
We are exposed to VOCs and manmade toxins every day, it is especially important to consider where we spend the most time and what we are exposed to on a regular basis. Schools, offices, businesses, homes, and cars are all indoor spaces most of us spend our days, but what are we really exposing ourselves, our employees and our loved ones to?
Luckily, public awareness of exposure to these chemicals and the adverse effects they have on our health is growing. Many companies are making the extra step to guarantee their products do not contain harmful ingredients such as VOCs, toxins, or known carcinogens. Other organizations are rising to the demand as well to assure that those who claim such green, health and eco-responsible guarantees are verified, such as Green Seal Certification.
Purchasing Green Seal Certified products for use in your home, or using a vendor such as a janitorial services that uses only Green Seal Certified products is one way to reduce your unnecessary exposure to chemicals. Another plus of the Green Seal Certification is also the effectiveness testing that assures you are not only not exposed to harmful chemicals – but that they products are also actual in their use, a very important consideration since you still want your home or business to be clean, while also being safe.
Next time you are in the market, or searching for a contractor or service to perform work for you, take time to check if they are using VOCs, non-toxic, biodegradable and/or non-carcinogen containing materials and chemicals to guarantee the continued good health of yourself, loved ones, employees and customers.