What is a Volatile Organic Compound (VOC)?

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As VOCs exist as a gas at room temperature the main exposure route is through normal respiration. Exposure to harmful VOCs can happen at home, outdoors or in the workplace. 

Domestic and light industrial sources of VOC include building materials, furniture, carpets, heating and cooking systems, stored solvents and cleaning products. 

Generally, VOCs are released slowly from these sources and would not cause a problem. However, modern buildings have low air exchange rates (to reduce heating and air conditioning costs) therefore concentrations can easily rise to harmful levels. 

VOCs are now widely recognised as a major contributor to sick building syndrome compromising Indoor Air Quality (IAQ).


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