Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are compounds that easily become vapors or gases.

VOCs are released from burning fuel such as gasoline, wood, coal, or natural gas. They are also released from many consumer products:

Cigarettes
Solvents
Paints and thinners
Adhesives
Hobby and craft supplies
Dry cleaning fluids
Glues
Wood preservatives
Cleaners and disinfectants
Moth repellants
Air fresheners
Building materials and furnishings
Copy machines and printers
Pesticides
When VOCs combine with nitrogen oxides in the air, they form smog.

See also: Dry Cleaning Gas Station Homes Vehicles and Engines Fuel Industry Air Pollution

Where are Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) found?
Consumer products – household, building, and hobby products; cigarettes
Air – indoors and outdoors: vehicle exhaust, cigarette and secondhand smoke, and emissions from fuels and VOC products

How can I be exposed to Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)?
Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) commonly enter(s) the body through:

Inhalation
Inhalation (breathing)
Breathing vehicle exhaust, fuel emissions, releases from products and processes that contain VOCs, and cigarette and secondhand smoke
Touching
Skin contact
Touching products that contain and release VOCs
What happens when I am exposed to Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)?
Short-term:
Short-term exposure to various VOCs may cause:

Irritation of the eyes and respiratory tract
Headaches
Dizziness
Visual disorders
Memory problems
Long-term:
Long-term exposure to various VOCs may cause:

Irritation of the eyes, nose, and throat
Nausea
Fatigue
Loss of coordination
Dizziness
Damage to the liver, kidneys, and central nervous system
Cancer
Who is at risk for exposure to Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)?
Consumers
Many consumer, building, and craft products release VOCs.
Cigarette smokers
Cigarette and secondhand smoke contain VOCs.
Vulnerable populations
People with asthma, young children, and the elderly may be more susceptible to the effects of VOCs.

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