DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd.
Indoor Air Quality and Environmental Experts

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Sprayed air freshener in hand on white shelves backgroundIn our past couple of blogs, we pointed out some of the main culprits of indoor air quality deterioration. Often, what negatively impacts the quality of the air we breathe are the things that we assume are helping it. Air fresheners, for example, are often heralded as “clean” and “fresh” smelling, giving us the impression that the air we are breathing is pure. Sadly, the opposite is actually true. And that’s because of VOCs.

As Fraser Health explains, volatile organic compounds are gases emitted from a variety of chemicals that include gasoline, paints, varnishes, cigarettes, cleaning supplies, pesticides, building materials and furnishings, glues and adhesives. “Proper ventilation and storage of such chemicals reduces exposure,” explains their website, “VOCs can cause short or long term health effects depending on length of exposure and type of VOC.”

You’ll notice that many of the chemicals that emit VOCs are often considered pleasant smelling. There are even people who have commented that they enjoy the smell of a new car. “New car smell”, however, is a sign that VOCs are present. “The smell in a new car is perhaps one of the most noticeable examples of VOCs, as the interior plastics emit gases,” reveals HGTV.com. So how can we limit the amount of VOCs in our air?

Read the labels. Perhaps, the easiest and most sensible way to reduce volatile organic compounds in our air is to purchase products that do not contain them. As well, there are products that are considered “low VOC” that would be more conducive to promoting higher indoor air quality. “Read the labels on household supplies and choose lower emission products,” insists Fraser Health.

The more educated you are about the products that you bring into your home, the better your air quality will be. HGTV.com seconds that motion. “Read labels to find low-VOC products and purchase nontoxic paint,” reads the website, “Use water-based polyurethane that emits fewer gases than oil-based products. For the same reason, natural or low-VOC stains, sealants and varnishes are also healthier choices.”

Avoid products that emit gases. Some products may not give you the impression that they are gas-emitting. But, if you can smell them – even if they smell “good” – then they are likely to contain VOCs. You’ll want to keep away from products that are known for producing smells that come from their gases. And you may be surprised to know what some of them are. HGTV.com offers a stern warning about this.

Among the gas-emitting products that the site insists you should avoid is vinyl wall coverings. “Avoid vinyl wall covering, as well as vinyl upholstery and flooring. Vinyl is a chemical radical emitting various gases,” says the site. It also points out that some products can “trap” gases that are released when taken out of their packaging. “Tightly rolled wallpaper can trap gases, so unroll outdoors to allow gases to dissipate before hanging indoors,” advises HGTV.com.

At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we understand that maintaining high indoor air quality isn’t as easy as you may think. You can take all of the precautions in the world, but it’s hard to know for sure if the air in your home is completely pollutant-free. As a result, we offer Air Quality Services to help you enjoy the best indoor air quality possible. For more information, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email info@dftechnical.ca.

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