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:
Paints and thinners
Hobby and craft supplies
Dry cleaning fluids
Cleaners and disinfectants
Building materials and furnishings
Copy machines and printers
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:
Breathing vehicle exhaust, fuel emissions, releases from products and processes that contain VOCs, and cigarette and secondhand smoke
Touching products that contain and release VOCs
What happens when I am exposed to Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)?
Short-term exposure to various VOCs may cause:
Irritation of the eyes and respiratory tract
Long-term exposure to various VOCs may cause:
Irritation of the eyes, nose, and throat
Loss of coordination
Damage to the liver, kidneys, and central nervous system
Who is at risk for exposure to Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)?
Many consumer, building, and craft products release VOCs.
Cigarette and secondhand smoke contain VOCs.
People with asthma, young children, and the elderly may be more susceptible to the effects of VOCs.