Monday, March 21, 2011

Indoor air pollution from VOCs

Many people still fail to realize that indoor air quality is of equal (if not bigger) importance as the outdoor air quality. This is because we spend majority of our time indoors.

Indoor air pollution is mostly the result of inadequate ventilation. The most common indoor air pollutants are volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Solvents such as paints and protective coatings are the major source of VOCs.

In our offices VOCs are usually the result of new furnishings, wall coverings, and different office equipment. The only proper way to fight against VOC's is by having good ventilation and adequate air conditioning systems.

According to the data from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) the concentrations of VOCs in indoor air are in average 2 to 5 times greater than in outdoor air. New buildings are usually associated with the highest levels of VOCs.

VOCs concentrations are the highest in winter, up to four times higher than compared to summer because of inadequate ventilation due to cold outdoor weather.

Low VOC emitting products are being used more widely in buildings than they were used before, and there are also several programs that test VOC emissions from building products. But even despite this new measures VOCs have still remained the major source of indoor air pollution.

VOC emissions from building materials and products have often been linked to occupant illness. World Health Organization has stated that around 1.5 million deaths are the result of indoor air pollution.

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