VOCs in Our Environment
Volatile organic compounds, or VOCs, are substances that contain carbon and evaporate (becomes a vapor) or “off-gases” at room temperature. Some examples of VOCs include benzene, methylene chloride, hexane, toluene, trichloroethane, styrene, heptane, and perchloroethylene.
VOCs are widely used in household and commercial products including some cleansers, disinfectants, waxes, glues, cosmetics, dry cleaning products, paints, varnishes, and preservatives. Gasoline, kerosene, and other fuels as well as cigarette smoke and pesticides contain VOCs.
Several building and household materials may be sources of VOCs. New carpeting, backing, and adhesives; draperies; wood products that use certain glues, finishes, and waxes in the manufacturing process; vinyl type flooring; and wall coverings may all release VOCs into the air.